Hello, I'm Heather Markel
I help professionals seeking freedom and flexibility to ditch their desk and discover their destiny through full time travel.
A LITTLE ABOUT ME…
- Assists professionals who want to or start or sustain extended travel or work remotely while traveling
- International Speaker & Bestselling Author focused on the opportunities of full time travel
- Empowers frustrated professionals to ditch their desk and discover their destiny through full time travel
- Traveled solo to 27 countries and now teaches other professionals by experience and example
- Provides a path to the money, mindset, and mastery necessary for a full time travel lifestyle
- Certified Professional Coach who inspires a life of global connection, community and freedom
- Consultant for organizations who want to initiate or elevate traveling remote work opportunities
“Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”
This quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson embodies the unconventional lifestyle that Heather Markel has crafted for herself. While working in corporate America, she realized there had to be more meaning to life than just sitting behind her desk waiting for retirement. She finally ditched her desk in 2017, and has been traveling full time ever since. She now wants to inspire more people to stop asking ‘what if?’ and to start living their dreams.
Heather grew up as an only child in New York City. When she was 16, she was encouraged by her stepmother to live with a host family in another country. Heather chose France, and ended up living with a farm family in Normandy. She was a shy teenager, but with the help of her French host mother and a family cow named Amazonie, she was pushed out of her comfort zone and into her self-confidence. That experience eventually led to studying abroad during college, where she spent a year in Italy, France and England, and worked in Switzerland during the summer. Throughout this time, Heather learned the value of immersing herself in different cultures and languages as opposed to being a passing tourist.
After high school, Heather earned her BA in International Relations at The George Washington University. She then spent more than 25 years working in the corporate world. However, she grew more and more frustrated with her career, because she felt that she was on the wrong path and meant to create something that didn’t yet exist. It wasn’t until she started suffering chest pains from work-related stress, however, that she finally gained the courage to quit her job and pursue that calling. Her first move after quitting was to travel to Costa Rica, where she says she felt the strong presence of gratitude, confirming her choice. In that moment, Heather knew that the universe had her back and was supporting her as she blazed her own trail. A year into the COVID-19 pandemic, she saw an opportunity to embrace the large wave of people who were also beginning to seek more meaning and purpose in their lives. The Great Resignation created the framework to begin a business that would help frustrated professionals ditch their desk and discover their destiny through full time travel. That’s how she became known as the Full-Time Travel Coach.
Today, Heather is a Certified Professional Coach, Bestselling Author, and International Speaker who helps those seeking to start or sustain extended travel, or work remotely while traveling. Her experience traveling solo to 27 countries and six continents helps her teach other professionals by experience and example. She’s known for providing a path to the money, mindset, and mastery necessary for a full-time travel lifestyle. She’s also a consultant for organizations who want to initiate or elevate remote work travel opportunities. Her goal is to help frustrated professionals travel in a way that inspires a life of self-discovery, community, and freedom.
While Heather is helping clients achieve their traveling dreams, she’s still fulfilling her own. She feels lucky to be living her ideal life everyday. As J.R.R. Tolkien said, “Not all those who wander are lost.” Yes, Heather wanders the world. Not because she is lost, but because she is on a purposeful path to help others find their destiny, too.
It’s Not Just For Millenials
If you’re tired of feeling like you’re too old to live your life without runining it, I’m your advocate! I specifically inspire people who, like me, are over 40, have too many years to retirement to spend them unhappily, but need to feel they have a smart and safe plan to do what they want.
You Don’t Need to Be Wealthy
Traveling the world full time doesn’t require tons of wealth. In fact, it may be less expensive than the fixed life you’re living now! I can help you figure out what you really need, and what you don’t, to turn your dream into a reality.
You Don’t Need to Be Retired
Living a fulfilling life isn’t just for retired people. In fact, pursuing what you love well before retirement allows you to reboot yourself and your career better than any job change can! Remember, there’s no guarantee you will reach retirement or have all the money you’re saving.
What’s Heather Begins About?
What started out as a travel blog has become a source of information and inspiration. You can follow my journeys, get information on the places I’ve been to plan your own trips, or get inspired to leave frustration behind and follow your passion to a sense of fulfillment.
In my experience, you don’t have to be rich to quit your job to pursue your passion, but you do need to know what to expect, plan ahead, and trust yourself.
Why I decided to take this journey
I remember as a kid writing a lot of poetry, winning a Peace Essay Writing contest and wanting to be a superhero. Specifically, I dreamed of being Wonder Woman, being bullet proof, and saving people (as well as looking hot!) People always said I had a sense of determination and was “going places.” I felt that, but I didn’t know where to put that energy. When college came around, I had no idea where I wanted to go. I had to write an essay and they were decent words, but devoid of true emotion, which, dealing with fallout from my parents’ divorce, I was learning to stuff away.
My focus became doing – doing my homework, playing on lots of sports teams (basketball, softball and volleyball) in high school, getting into college, getting a job, working hard, creating my own job, working harder and for the greater part of 20 years feeling like I was living on the side. I took classes in every subject I could; freelance writing, watercolor painting, jewelry making, sewing at FIT, acting (the only place I could channel my emotions). On top of that, I was on boards of advisers, running a referral group for The Manhattan Chamber of Commerce, volunteering for the ASPCA and Big Apple Greeter, sporadically performing stand-up comedy and figuring out how to build websites, oh, and of course also going out, meeting people, traveling….
I ended up feeling like 20 different people and unsure of who I am at a deeper level or where to feel that deep sense of self connection that happens once in a while. I was also deeply aware of feeling like I can and should be making more of a positive impact on humanity, and felt unclear how to do that with anything I was doing.
P.S. – I’m not a Millenial. So I also had to fight through all the “you’re too old” stigmas I had taken on from those that care about me the most.
—Health Speaks Louder Than Words
While all this doing was going on, I spent roughly 10 years knowing that I wanted to travel and live in Europe, use my language skills (I speak 6) more than I was. I’d get to December of each year and become deeply depressed, for a week, that I had not yet done any of these things I really wanted. The depression would go away, January would come, and then I plodded forward.
Until December 2016 when the depression lasted most of the month. It continued into January 2017. The Woman’s March happened, and I felt like I wanted my own movement, my own sense of purpose, and had no idea what they were. And then chest pains started. That was it, I knew I’d be spending the year preparing for radical changes in 2018.
I became aware that I’ve been living life through a series of boxes. They made me feel like I was actually following my life, not living it. These are just some of the “guidance systems” that were at the forefront of my life for most of it. Even the good boxes felt like words, rather than words to live by. The other boxes kept me stuck in the insanity of doing what often felt like the same thing every day hoping for a different outcome.
I decided it was time to bust out of all my boxes and create a life that truly suits me, one choice at a time.
The big truth is that I wanted to be and do more. I knew it’s possible, but I didn’t know how. So, rather than strategize, plan, visualize, dream, and read, I decided to surrender. Though this path in many ways isn’t logical, it’s sure different than anything I’ve ever done before. It truly allows me to follow my heart rather than just my head. So, I decided to proverbially jump off a cliff and find out what’s waiting for me after the jump!
The site is called “Heather Begins” because this leap of faith is, in truth, the beginning of me being the person I was born to be, rather than the one I was told to be. Every day is a new beginning, and because of my belief in myself, I’ve developed more confidence and more alignment than I ever could have if I had remained at that desk job. I share my stories in my blog, and I aim to inspire you to create your own beginning through everything I write, and my Inspired Nomads video series.