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How I Got Here

November 17, 2009

I am 26, on the verge of 27, and preparing to move across the globe. You might be asking, how in the world did you get to the point where you’re moving to Cambodia? Well, it ain’t a short story and this route involved lots of twists, turns, challenges and triumphs. I’ve learned a few things along the way, mainly that everything happens for a reason.

I’ve always been drawn to adventure and the creative process. I studied theater at Drew University where I also majored in Political Science to keep the parentals happy. Armed with my theater degree (and a practical degree for back-up), I set out to live the dream in New York City. Temp’ing by day and assistant directing at night, I subsided. After a stint in Portland, Maine, I was determined to return to New York City theater and thrive. The city that never sleeps might have had other plans for me.

Instead I found myself temp’ing for an iconic fashion brand. One thing led to another and I became a full-time employee supporting the Chief Creative Director and Director of Visual + Creative Services. I started a crash course learning about pattern, fabric, color, print + graphic design and the fashion world. I realized that fashion design teams function similarly to theatrical design teams. I felt at home and excited to be involved in the creative process again.

The recession hit and my position was eliminated. I freaked out. I panicked. I found a freelance gig and helped to launch a new e-commerce site. I watched an amazing entrepreneur build her business from the ground up. I had my hand in product development, web design, graphic design, public relations, branding and marketing. Then my contract ended and I found myself at square one again.

Burnt out and unsure of what to do next, I stopped and took a step back. I recognized that I was experiencing information overload and couldn’t possibly compute all the possibilities. So, I took a breather. I blogged. I enjoyed my summer. I did a lot of soul searching. I decided what I wanted out of life and told my friends. I shared my wildest dreams with my friends, cringed and waited for them to laugh or tell me it was impossible and was utterly surprised when they did neither. Instead, we started brainstorming how to make things happen.

I chose to live as an optimist. I started reading personal development blogs that resonated with who I wanted to become. A fellow dreamer who my mentor introduced me to last April contacted me in September. He remembered a conversation we had in April when I told him I admired the work he did and would love to be a part of it. He wanted to know if I would be interested in moving across the globe to work for his NGO. Yes! Of course! I jumped at the opportunity.

In a little over two weeks I’m leaving New Jersey behind and embarking on a year-long journey that will take me to Siem Reap, Cambodia. I hope you’ll join me for this adventure!

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Erin Curcio permalink
    December 3, 2009 1:50 am

    Have a safe flight Leigh!!

  2. Simone permalink
    December 3, 2009 7:09 am

    I can’t believe you’re leaving already!! Have a safe journey, and a great time. I’ll miss you!!

  3. Catherine permalink
    December 8, 2009 1:57 am

    Hi Leigh,

    I am a friend of your Mom, from her cruise buddies…love your blog and look forward to following you and your dreams!
    Catherine DeAtley

    • December 8, 2009 10:50 am

      Hi Catherine!

      Thanks for stopping by. Any friend of Mom’s is a friend of mine.


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