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How I Decided to Completely Change Direction After 10 Years of a Comfortable Career

I was TERRIFIED when I decided to close my business and leap into a completely new industry. For the past 10 years, I’ve been working in marketing and communications. Over that time, I’ve held a tonne of different roles and titles:

  • Press operator
  • Bindery operator
  • Bindery estimator
  • Graphic designer
  • Web designer
  • Editor-in-chief
  • Brand designer
  • Brand strategist
  • Brand advisor
  • Business owner…

With each shift, I felt I was getting closer to a role that suited my creative brain and desire to make a difference. But something was missing.

In my third year of running a business full-time, I finally realized what it was.

Caitey in the woods as a kid

I spent nearly every day of my childhood running around outside

When I was growing up, I played outside almost every day. My mom would take me and our dogs all over my hometown of Summerland and we’d walk through forests, past creeks, over train tracks, into the wilderness…

She taught me to love trees.
She’s the reason why I hug them. (In fact, she kind of insists I do so.)

Since those early days, I’ve felt deeply connected to nature.

When 2020 came around and I sat down to create a vision for my business, I couldn’t. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t even write down a single thing I wanted to achieve. (And if I did, I knew in my gut that it wasn’t what I really wanted.) I’m an incredibly visual person, but no matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t see a future for my business (or any role in marketing, for that matter). It was quite disconcerting.

On days like those, where things seem dark and unclear, I always turn to my husband and say the same thing:

“I just want to run away to the woods!”

Have you ever felt that way? Here’s the thing: I don’t just say it on days when I’m overwhelmed, unclear, or sad. I say it on GOOD days, too.

I say it when it’s bright and sunny.
I say it when it’s pouring rain.
I say it when I’m full of energy.
I say it when I’m depleted at the end of a hard week.

“I just want to run away to the woods.”

Caitey hugging a tree on the West Coast Trail

As advised by my sage mom, I took some time to hug a tree while hiking the West Coast Trail

I realized that’s exactly what I wanted and needed to do. After all, I spent several years building a business in marketing just so I could have more time and freedom to be with nature!

Our natural spaces play a significant role in the overall health of our planet and its many species (yes, including humans)! The delicate balance of our ecosystems breeds life, connects us and (I believe) is one of the most important resources we have for maintaining mental health.

So I’m starting completely fresh. My intention is to go back to school for forestry and natural areas management so that I can protect and support our natural ecosystems. Currently, I’m on a waitlist to do just that, and until I’m granted entrance into formal studies, I’m going to do everything I can to get closer to that dream.

I know it’ll be challenging.
(Bring it on!)
And I’m a bit scared.
(But I’m doing it anyway!)

To the many people who have support my journey so far: thank you, deeply. I’ve learned so much from every one of you, and I’ve loved hearing your stories and feeling your passion. I hope you can feel mine, too. Let’s stay connected.