"Great things never came from comfort zones"

January 25, 2017

 

'The Happiest Camper' originated in the spring of 2016. At the age of 32 I was experiencing my second quarter-life crisis- severely unhappy in my job and recovering from two pregnancy losses. I was having a hard time moving forward from failure. I felt insecure, frustrated, and scared. It somehow felt like everything was spiraling out of control while at the same time remaining stagnant.

 

The job search was a nightmare, as it always is in Asheville. I had so many ideas, but no where to put them, no one to appreciate them. After months of fruitless searching my instinct was telling me to look inward instead. I needed to do something major- something completely new and different, and unexpected. On a whim I decided to purchase a website domain: thehappiestcamper.com. I had NO clue what to do with it, so it sat there- empty and blank for almost a year. Little did I know that this tiny seed, this business-without-a-plan, would eventually become my life-saving creative outlet.

 

Later that summer I was fortunate enough to finally land my dream job, working as a outreach director for a local nature center. At the same time I also found out I was pregnant again. It felt like everything was finally falling into place, until a few months later when I suffered a third loss. I was devastated- physically and emotionally, but also mentally broken- once again left to question and doubt my place in the world.

 

Through the grieving process I decided to start writing again- something I used to do more regularly as a teen and young adult. I began journaling in a "secret blog" as a way to move forward and process the loss. Writing helped me heal from the pain, organize my thoughts and make sense of the world again. As I regained my sense of self I started having revolutionary thoughts about how I spent my time, my money, my energy. I realized that despite the great non-profit job, happy marriage, loving family and friends, it still felt like something was missing in my life. Perhaps that was motherhood, but again I knew I needed to dig deeper and try to find the answer in myself, within the soul. 

 

In those weeks of introspection I began to realize that no matter what I did or bought- better clothes, a nicer phone, a fancier kitchen, a packed schedule and even travel- none of this could ever fill the void I was experiencing. These things were not the path to enlightenment. I knew I needed to starting GIVING more than I was taking and consuming. I wanted to live a life of service and purpose. I wanted to form deep meaningful connections with people. I wanted to use my natural talents  (organized, intuitive, creative) to make a difference in the world. Again, motherhood sure would meet that criteria but I knew if having a child was my ONLY path to happiness, I would be missing out the other beautiful parts of life.

 

As I continued to write the ideas (and confidence) returned. I rediscovered my gifts. I learned what true self-care entails. I discovered yoga and spirituality.  I began practicing the principles of minimalism and mindfulness. From all of this a personal mission statement was born and a business plan evolved. For the first time in my life I was following the compass of my heart (hence the Happiest Camper logo). Through organized spaces I could help others find their path and purpose, just as I had found mine. 

 

Love & Light (and Less),

EB

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