Detouring My Career Through the Irish Wanderland

The following is a guest blog post from Vicki Aubin, New York-based career coach and personal branding consultant:

June 15, 2000: 

It was a first for me. Traveling totally alone, and for a month and half (!?!), half way around the world. It seemed like a great idea at the beginning, and it was, but it came to fruition out of disheartening circumstances. 

In a nutshell, after seven years in progressive roles in the music industry (my life-long dream since a wee gal), I had made a (hasty) move between companies and lo and behold, found myself experiencing a big dose of buyer’s remorse. 

Being a very determined person by nature, I gave the job my all for 10 months… until the day I received my ‘pink slip’. 

I had worked diligently to launch my career and build a solid portfolio of skills and recommendations under my belt. I was crushed.

To a very idealistic, impressionable 27-year old like me at the time, this was a harsh ego bruise I hadn’t experienced like any other, and quite frankly, one that I had no idea how to digest or handle. It was time to face the cold, hard truth:

I had spent nearly a year in a toxic job that was not a fit for me, despite trying to convince myself otherwise. 

Seeing this as complete defeat, I vowed to get away and distance myself from the people, places, and things associated with the last 10 months as a whole. 

The antidote? A 6-week detox across the lush, idyllic, mystical land of the Emerald Isle.  

In under a month I had booked my flights, researched the best hostels across the Irish countryside, mapped out a tentative itinerary and found a subletter for my room in NYC; whew! But things didn’t feel real until the night before my departing flight, when a sudden burst of fear, isolation, and uncertainty set in, and I started asking myself,  ‘Am I biting off more than I can chew?’ and ‘Who the heck do I think I am…just taking off for a month and a half like this?!’

So I asked myself, ‘Do I really want to go on this trip?’ 

Before I could even begin to think, I had already answered myself with an instinctual ‘YES!!!’. Never mind that when I got to the airport the flight was overbooked and I was bumped to a later flight. Surprisingly, I didn’t even blink an eye about it. This patience paid off when I learned that the airline was crediting me a free round trip flight as a result of it.  

A hiccup so soon in my trip and no panic? And already good things happening as a result of it? This would be a recurring trend (and life lesson) throughout the next month and a half. And so my true journey had already begun. 

June 20, 2000: 

After a brief few days in London, I hopped a flight to Dublin, where I stayed with my friend Sharon, who lived in the ultra hip Temple Bar neighborhood. During the first few days, I explored Dublin and its surrounding coastal villages on my own, while visiting hipster restaurants and spotting Irish rockstars at trendy lounges with Sharon at night. 

It hadn’t sunk in that I was actually there and on vacation yet until 5 days later on the bus from Dublin down to Waterford, in a random moment. 

A wave of peace and relief suddenly fell over me, along with the realization ‘Yes! You are actually doing this!’  I felt happy and proud and had to pinch myself. 

The next three weeks, I traveled along Ireland’s coastline via public buses and youth hostels up to city of Derry in Northern Ireland, stopping along the way in places like Cork, Kinsale, Kerry, Galway, the Aran Islands and my favorite spot of all, the village of Kilcar in County Donegal, where I spent a whole day solo hiking the awe-inspiring cliffs of the Slieve League (Sliabh Liag) mountain range. I could totally live there.

Much to my surprise, I met an astonishing amount of young solo travelers like myself from all over the globe throughout my trip.

Never once did I feel alone or lonely. Realizing this was truly an ‘aha’ moment for me. As long as I trusted in myself and what I was doing (aka being good buddies with my gut instinct), that’s all I needed.

Interestingly enough, while I had originally planned my itinerary in detail day-by-day, I soon noticed that things naturally began to take a turn of their own as each week progressed; buses missed, new friends made and itineraries changed in the spur of the moment. Change and uncertainty became the ‘norm’ and as long as I accepted it, I could readjust my route as needed. 

After all, it was my vacation and how I steered it was all up to me.

July 22, 2000: 

I had actually done it! 

What had been a pipe dream proudly made its way onto my kick-ass stuff I’ve done list, and with a fresh, new set of eyes, ears and mindset for success a big part of it. 

Whatever was going to greet me when I returned back to NYC, I would be ready for it. And if not, I knew I could trust in myself to face it and figure it out.

An áit a bhfuil do chroí, is ann a thabharfas do chosa thú.

(Your feet will bring you where your heart is) – Irish Proverb


About Vicki:
Upon Vicki’s return to NYC, she began a new career journey in financial services, where she spent over a decade in Human Resources and Recruiting at Fortune 500 companies such as Goldman Sachs, Deloitte & Touche, and Morgan Stanley, before starting her own career transition and personal branding consultancy. Fusing her love of music with career development, Vicki helps career revolutionaries looking to reinvent themselves to unleash their inner rockstar, make a powerful first impression, and do the work they were meant to do. Visit her at:

Ready for your own adventure? Ready to stretch your comfort zone? Check out Pivot Journeys upcoming trips for awesome adventures that will also help you take the next step in your career!