How in the world did I end up here?
This weekend, I was standing on top of a hill with a fortress and a lighthouse that overlooked the Mediterranean Sea in a small beach town in Spain called Tossa De Mer. It was absolutely breathtaking. And I never even heard of this place before we arrived. All I could think was, “How in the world did I get here?”
Flashback five years ago, I was at a job in Ohio, and I was not particularly happy for many reasons. Guided by a strong intuition (and maybe my misery as well), I left my career as a sportscaster to start my own company, theunsealed.com. We are a platform that allows people to share personal stories in an effort to use writing to transform pain into power. If you know me, you know The Unsealed fuels my soul. It makes me excited to wake up in the morning and fills my life with meaning and purpose. For the first three years after starting my company, I worked every single day – most of the time, ten hours a day. No vacations. No days off. And I was perfectly happy doing so.
Personally, I have always enjoyed dating and the attention that comes with it, but after two very serious relationships in my early and mid-twenties, for a long time, I didn’t want anything serious. I always feared that a relationship would and could hold me back, especially when I was a sportscaster, and I didn’t know what city or what job would be next. However, as I became more certain that The Unsealed was what I wanted to do and could do with my life, I became cautiously more open to the idea of a partnership.
Then, after the pandemic, my brother sent me an online flyer for an event. It was called Miami Tech Night; a networking event held every Wednesday in Miami for people who work in tech. My brother thought it would be a great opportunity for me to meet people in my industry. So, as I usually do, I followed my brother’s advice. It was maybe my second or third time attending when this tall, handsome man approached me and asked me what I did for a living. I happily told him, and then he shared a little bit about his career. As we chatted more and more, he revealed that he had started a successful online business in his 20s and sold it. I was impressed, intrigued, and inspired. He invited me to my favorite taco spot down the street to continue the conversation after the event. We quickly realized we had similar interests and family values.
From there, we started spending time together almost daily. Every week seemed to get better and better. So, one day, about three months into our relationship, I suggested getting away from Miami for a few weeks during the summer. Summers are so hot, muggy, and humid in Miami. I proposed L.A., and he said he has wanted for a while to take this massive three-month trip to Europe. He asked if I would be willing to come along. In theory, it sounded amazing, but I needed to work! Plus, leaving my dog for that long would not be easy for me.
My parents agreed to watch my dog, and my boyfriend promised me I could work as much as I wanted on the trip. He’s been where I am, so he gets it. I agreed to go, and for the first time maybe ever, I am figuring out how to have a work-life balance, waking up early to work before we go out for an excursion, and finding cafes in every city to continue to put in at least eight hours every weekday. Instead of resenting me, my boyfriend pushes me to wake up early and goes to play tennis when he doesn’t have his own work to get done.
At night and on the weekends, when we have time, we have the most incredible experiences exploring the world together, visiting castles in Portugal, wandering the Gothic Quarter in Barcelona, and getting lost in the public transportation system somewhere in Europe (super grateful to the restaurant owner who called us a taxi).
There is no way if you told me five years ago I would be here right now, I would believe you. But as I sit in a cafe in Spain and reflect, I realize I don’t know exactly where my life is headed, but I do know how I got where I am right now. And that is by personally and professionally following my heart.
P.S. Special shoutout to my boyfriend – thank you for believing in me, pushing me, loving me, and inspiring me. And thank you for speaking three languages. We certainly would get far more lost otherwise!
I love this story. This inspires me to hold onto faith and to let things happen on its own. Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful story. I’m happy you were able to balance work and travel.
Lauren!!! I love this line “I don’t know exactly where my life is headed, but I do know how I got where I am right now. And that is by personally and professionally following my heart.” It’s exactly the space I’m in where life can be so mysterious. While that can be unsettling there is hope in knowing that by following our dreams and what we love to do the promises and adventures are endless. I’m glad you found love, love for self, love in your career, and love for your heart! Wish you all the best!