Opening New Doors in 2021

One year into the pandemic — what is a nomad to do? With no home and no car, I have enjoyed living wherever I want, primarily in hotels, for the past decade.  All my belongings fit in two suitcases, and travel is in my blood. However, the COVID-19 pandemic means travelling is both limited and risky. Staying in hotels during COVID adds an additional health risk, primarily due to guests not following the rules.  Renting vacation homes is expensive and often involves frustrating experiences. Perhaps it’s time to settle down!?! 

I moved in with my sister Wanda in our hometown of Houston, Texas for most of 2020.  I greatly enjoyed using her kitchen to improve my healthy cooking skills, and I’m grateful for the comfortable roof over my head. However, I missed having my own space and taking walks outside of a suburb. 

Hotel Alba Cabana Suites
Hotel Alba Cabana Suites w/ external doors

I’m currently staying in a hotel in Tampa, Florida. The suites have external doors, which means I can leave and return safely, avoiding common spaces like the hotel lobby and elevators.  My suite also has a kitchenette and a separate living and working space. It’s great for a few weeks, but I’m beyond ready to get settled into a more long-term home. I’ve had so many question marks in my future, I haven’t been able to make a commitment… until now. Let me catch you up:

My Career “Exploration”

My career took some twists and turns in the past 18 months. I resigned from my last corporate job in August 2019. I published and promoted my book Hotel Sweet Home, travelled around Europe, lived on cruise ships, and enjoyed time with family and friends. I resigned due to burnout (I since learned ways to prevent burnout), and my intent was to get a new corporate job in 2020. That didn’t happen. A few opportunities fell though at the beginning of the year; then the pandemic hit and most companies implemented a hiring freeze.  

Libby Rome with Starch Solution Nutrition Certificate
Libby with Starch Solution Nutrition Certificate

I considered alternative career options. I became a certified nutritionist, made weight loss YouTube videos, shared my favorite healthy recipes on Instagram, and published a magazine article about insulin resistance. I even started a health coaching business, which was personally rewarding and fun. However, the significantly lower income, lack of health insurance, and minimal collaboration with peers led me back to wanting to return to my corporate career.

I then spent many frustrating months on unsuccessful corporate job applications and interviews. The process was disheartening and demoralizing, and it became difficult to stay positive through the feelings of defeat.

The New Door!

I took training and achieved certifications in my desired field, and I remained relentless in my career search.  I am happy to report the end result: I have just accepted an excellent job offer! It’s an ideal consulting role at a company I’ve wanted always wanted to work for. I’ll share more about my job later, but needless to say, I am excited about this next big chapter in my career and life. Hip, hip hoorah!!!

I’ll be working 100% remotely during the pandemic. Depending on the future state of the corporate office (Is it virtual, in-person, or something in between?), I may need to travel to client sites once the pandemic ends. Since companies have learned that their employees can be just as effective when they’re at home, I think virtual meetings will stay the norm even after the pandemic ends. 

Probably Tampa

I can choose to reside in any U.S. city.  For those who have been following my adventures, it may come as no surprise that I am choosing Tampa, Florida as my home!  My husband was lucky enough to grow up in Tampa, and I loved this city since first visiting a few years ago. His sister and his Mom, Whitehawk, live here, and I love being near them. I also love Tampa’s beautiful skies, water, wildlife, climate, and friendly people. 

A video I created a few years ago: “I love Tampa, Florida”

My husband has not finished his job search, so there’s a chance we may have to move if he gets a job in a different location. However, the trend to allow remote working should enable us to stay in Tampa for the rest of the year, if not permanently.

I plan to remain a minimalist, but increase my belongings enough to create a nice, comfortable space I call home for many years. With my passion for healthy cooking, I am looking forward to having a kitchen with some basic supplies, which won’t be much more than an Instant Pot, cutting board, and chef’s knife!  Having a home will also enable me to follow the CDC’s guidelines to prepare for a zombie apocalypse, or to be prepared for whatever future events society has to deal with. When feasible, I am also looking forward to enjoying more hobbies, joining communities, and making local friends.

I’ve learned more about myself and enjoyed a variety of activities during this pandemic downtime, but I am ready to embrace and enjoy the new chapter!

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