Why travel is crucial to my personal and career growth

Abby Tegnelia

I owe my path, my career development to travel. Photo © ericitaphoto.com

Last year, I was introduced to the field of travel nursing, an admirable field combining a sense of adventure with helping people. How inspiring is that! So when they asked me to speak about travel and career development at their Gypsy Nurse conference in Vegas, how could I say no? All I had to do was will away my intense fear of public speaking and squeeze in time during my move to San Francisco to write a speech — and then make it to Vegas four days after my move and one day before grabbing a flight to Hong Kong. The conference’s founder, Candy, is an energetic, encouraging, sincere woman, and I can’t thank her enough for inviting me to be a part of her world for a day. I had been so nervous, but once I got into the room of kindred spirits, I was fine.

It was strange to write a speech during this transition time, as I gear up for my next chapter, when I am determined to go after everything I want–personal time, success, freedom. But as always, I remain flexible to what my future actually holds…

All I know is that for now, I am right where I belong: on the move.

Here is a condensed version of my speech, about how each of these big moves/travels have been a defining moment in my life and shaped my career:

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Sacrifices in moving: Leaving Las Vegas

Abby Tegnelia Leaving

Photo by foggodyssey.com

Yes, it’s true — I am hanging up my stilettos and deserting the desert. It was a long, hard decision, one I had been mulling over for about six months. I did some Hail Mary-type plays in the end to see if maybe I could save my comfortable, happy life here. Alas, I did not get the humongous raise I gunned for (I said it was a Hail Mary), and Prince Charming did not ring my doorbell (ok, maybe becoming a homebody while I tried to figure out where I could move to doesn’t count)… But the universe was stubborn. In fact, the ol’ uni was sick and tired of whispering that my time here was done, irritated as I proved to be just as headstrong. So it threw bricks — the weekend getaways that usually rejuvenate me to return home? This time, on an innocent girls’ trip to Napa and San Francisco, I learned that I wasn’t going home, not really. My life as I knew it had come to an end.

“Why don’t you just move here?” an old friend asked me during happy hour in the Castro.

And I answered, “Why don’t I?” as breezily as if he’d asked me if I wanted another drink.

So here we are. I am at last… Leaving Las Vegas.

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Daydream of the Week: San Francisco

San FranciscoAs much as I love the peace and rejuvenation effects of the tropics, such as Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Maui and Borneo, I also thrive on the excitement of big cities. In nature, I relax, breathe deeply, sleep well. But cities get me going — yes, my heart races, I talk too fast, and I am often out of breath. But all of that inner turmoil is where my world changes. I lived in New York City for five years and often miss walking outside of my apartment to run off to the next party, dinner with friends, or a run along the water. I am less of a homebody in the city, because of how easy it is to simply step out into a world where anything could happen. Recently, on my way to the wineries in Napa, I woke up in a friend’s gorgeous San Francisco apartment and took in this view. The endless buildings reaching the horizon? It’s all a blur, isn’t it… I can see what’s right in front of me, but have no idea what awaits farther out. There is something big out there for me, I’m sure. Leaps of faith are difficult, but you can’t discover new ground without losing sight of the land behind you.

I am petrified, but I choose to jump. And I won’t be looking back.

Living in Las Vegas

Abby Tegnelia living in Las Vegas“Where are you headed?” my cabbie asked innocently enough after picking me up at my Vegas home to take me to the airport. On my way to Costa Rica, I was in a particularly good mood, but my affable driver was confused. “Are you from there?” he asked. It was a weird response, considering Costa Rica’s reputation as a tourist destination, but he pressed on after I told him no: “Is your husband from there?” “Nope, no husband! But actually, I did move to Vegas from there.” I’ve written at length about why I ended up living in paradise during a rough period in my life – and why I moved back to Vegas for my dream job. But, as my confused cabbie at least somewhat understood, we are talking about two very different places with two very different lifestyles. And I had a thought: I have never talked about actually living in Las Vegas.

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My favorite birthday gift: conquering a fear

Abby Tegnelia Sarah Feldberg basketI know I just said I was retiring from adventure activities, after I got the exhilarating chance to fly a jet plane, but this doesn’t count. This was a comfortable, relaxing little morning ride in the sun — at least that’s what people kept telling me. But to me, riding in a hot air balloon was all about conquering a decade-long fear, after a miserable ride ruined me for a life. Or so I thought… When Hendrick’s Gin offered me a little ride, and it happened to fall on my birthday, how could I say no? I was actually a little excited to kick that phobia in the rear end — even though I was expecting a rather uncomfortable few hours. I mean, just because I was willing to do something, didn’t mean I was going to like it. This was going to have to be one of the best hot air balloon trips ever if it wasn’t going to change my mind…

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How to take the perfect picture (even without Steve Carell)

How to take great pictures -- even without Steve Carell.

How to take great pictures — even without Steve Carell.

As the editor of Vegas magazine, I organize photo shoots and pick pictures for publication all day long. Another part of my job includes representing the magazine at the very best of Las Vegas events that in turn require having my photo taken, something I have loathed my entire life. But since I now have to run 3-4 of those pictures in every issue (oh, and I have a blog!), I have learned how to take good pictures or at least do the best I can. More and more lately, I’ve been asked for tips, so these skills must be improving… I promise you, it’s not about looking like a model or having the most expensive clothes, as evidenced in the following photos. In fact, there are several easy tips that make all the difference in the world.

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