If we met just two short years ago, you would have met a California girl living in sunny San Diego. You would have met a corporate event planner working a solid 9-5 job who bartends on the side to fund her travel obsession. You would have met a girl who loves to cook and is intrigued by wine, but doesn’t know a ton about it other than what she likes. You would have met a girl who was tired of going on awful dates and would rather hang with her best girlfriends. You would have met a girl who would rather spend her free time out drinking and dancing with friends or at the beach or watching the latest Netflix series. You would not have met someone living her passion and purpose. You wouldn’t have met me, or at least you wouldn’t have met all of me.
Let me back up a bit. Throughout my twenties, I was constantly searching for purpose. Here’s a not-so-fun, but important aspect of my life you may or may not know about me. My older brother and closest friend passed away when I was just 16 years old. Just a month after the doctors discovered cancer, Jonny was gone. He was only 18. I was devastated, to say the least. And the effects of this loss carried on well into my early twenties. I was reeling for quite some time, even though I don’t think I realized this then. I focused on outward remedies rather than working to heal the emotional wounds from this tragic loss. Mainly I turned to partying or being out with friends and busy all the time.
When it was time to enter the workforce after college, I had NO IDEA what I wanted to do with my life. I started working in public relations in the entertainment industry in Los Angeles, which sounds like it would be cool and exciting, but I hated it. People were fake and cared so much about things that seemed so trivial to me. And I could give two shits about which celebrity I was standing next to on the red carpet. Plus, my boss was a total bitch. Somehow, I managed to stick around for almost two years, even though I wasn’t happy working there. I wasn’t honoring myself and how I was spending my time at this point in my life. Honestly, at the time I think I was listening to other peoples’ opinions more than I trusted my own.
Then I finally woke up and remembered that life is too damn short! So I quit. And was back in the what am I supposed to do with my life boat. I would imagine we all have these moments. What am I doing with my life? What do I love to do? Can I even make a living doing that? Well this person is, but who knows if I can? What if I fail? What is my passion and purpose? Are those even the same thing? WHO AM I?
While I worked out the answers to these questions, the job hopping commenced. I assisted a fashion designer in downtown Los Angeles because I was always in love with fashion and thought that would be my calling. It wasn’t. I became a server at a super cool bar and restaurant in Santa Monica, had an absolute blast, and made great money in tips, which funded my subsequent extensive travels to Thailand and Bali.
When I got back from Southeast Asia, I went to stay in Paso Robles with my mom because I no longer had an apartment to return to in LA. I had a job lined up in the tasting room at my favorite winery, only to decline the job offer because I thought Paso was “too slow” for me at the time. I moved back down to San Diego and took a job selling time shares. WHAT?! How I thought this was a good idea, I don’t know. One of my good girlfriends had made a killing at this gig, but I did not. I hated it and felt more lost than ever. I was still searching for my passion and purpose.
I started bartending in San Diego after that. Then I also took a part-time gig as a corporate event planner, which just a few short months later turned into a full-time gig at my request because I wanted the pay increase and travel opportunities. I made some amazing friends and got to travel to a lot of cool cities in the United States, but I could not handle the monotony of a corporate, cubicle bound 9-5 job.
In the fall of 2017, I travelled to the Southern Rhône Valley following a friend’s wedding in Croatia. That fateful trip changed my life. I was so inspired by my visit to the Southern Rhône that I decided to make a big change in my life. I had always loved to cook and loved wine, really these were my main passions in life. For years I had been talking about starting a food blog or a catering business, but for some reason, I never had the balls or the self-worth to just go for it. I had this limiting belief that I couldn’t make enough money pursuing these passions to make this my career. Following that unforgettable visit to France, I said f*&k it.
After a Thanksgiving weekend interview at that same winery that had offered me a job just two years earlier, I had another job offer lined up. I quit my corporate gig, packed up my apartment and moved to Paso Robles. Rather than thinking about the money and analyzing the situation, I led with my heart. And that was the best decision I have ever made.
That same year I started Palm & Vine and achieved my WSET Level 2 certification with Distinction. I decided to work with the winemaking team in the cellar for vintage and learned a TON about wine. And as if taking steps towards my dream career and discovering myself and the joy of alignment in my life wasn’t enough, I also met the love of my life. A Sardinian named Marco who came all the way from Italy for a harvest internship in the cellar. Following a year in Paso Robles, Marco and I ventured to Australia to work a vintage in the southern hemisphere. After vintage, we explored some of Australia’s top wine regions and learned about a new part of the wine world the best way I know how – through experience.
Now I’m back in America, making plans to move to Italy hopefully before the summer is through. Living in Italy has been a dream of mine ever since I studied abroad in Florence and I feel like the universe had my back all along.
So I’m definitely dreaming big, now and forever. I have huge plans for Palm & Vine and some business plans in the works, too. You’ll have to stay tuned for that! And, of course, Marco and I are dreaming of our own winery and more.
Why am I telling you all of this anyway? In hopes that you can recognize that wherever you are in your journey, you are right where you are supposed to be. If I could go back to early or mid-twenties me, I would tell myself to chill out and enjoy the ride. Rather than worrying about making a ton of money, focus on finding what you love to do and doing as much of that as possible. When we do what we love, we come alive. I can definitely attest to that. And what the world really needs is people who are truly alive! Who are living in the present moment and living in a way that is true to themselves. Because those are the types of people that inspire others, those are the types of people who have an impact, and those are the types of people who contribute to others’ lives in meaningful ways. Those are the types of people who live with purpose.
I’ve also learned that life is not about the final destination, but more about the journey. My journey has taught me just that. We never stop learning in this life. And all of the lessons and skills learned throughout my experiences in my twenties have prepared me with the skills I need to go after my dreams with determination and excitement. By pursuing my passion, I discovered my purpose. To help others enjoy this one precious life we get by cultivating unforgettable experiences and moments around food, wine, and travel – my three favorite aspects of being alive.
If you met me today, and I hope one day we do, you would meet a woman who is more at peace. You would meet a woman who is passionate about doing what she loves and living life to the fullest. You would meet a woman who is a world traveler, who can tell you what wine to have with dinner and even how it was made. You would meet a woman whose dreams are coming true. And most importantly, you would meet a woman who hopes to inspire that last part for you, too.