The Journey Begins

Back in January of this year, I knew I was ready to quit my job in tech, get as far away from Silicon Valley as one could in Sonoma County, and eventually find a way to leverage my experience as an operations and facilities manager in the wine industry. The following March, I enrolled in my first WSET course and turned in my resignation. Excited to embark on new adventures, I felt motivated, inspired, and optimistic that for the first time in my life, I was finally going to have a career doing something I love in an industry not overrun with people staring at screens, taking up train space with their overstuffed backpacks, or rolling through San Francisco’s 20,000 homeless on their ridiculous rented scooters without so much as a glance.

The plan was to take a proper sabbatical and hit the open road for a few weeks with my boyfriend and our canine daughter, Elwynn, and from there we’d head to the wine regions of France before returning home to look for new a new job.

Then came the bad news. After noticing a small lump on the back of her knee, we took Elwynn into the vet. They took a small sample and assured us so long as it didn’t grow in size then there was nothing to worry about. A couple of weeks went by and while the lump on the back of her knee stayed the same, new lumps began to sprout, and seemingly overnight. So we took her back in. Neither of us were prepared for the the diagnosis which was advanced Stage V T-cell Lymphoma with a side of Hypercalcemia. The thing that makes this so difficult is aside from enlarged lymph nodes, Elwynn has not been nor was she ever exhibiting any symptoms of a dog with cancer, much less one given a prognosis of fewer than eight weeks to live. We were and still are, devastated, but we are holding strong and focusing on the great days ahead and the time we still have together.

Given the circumstances, I informed my work I would be leaving in two weeks rather than the overly-generous eight I had initially agreed to, which was still 5 weeks notice in total. James and I decided we wanted to hit the road with our dog as swiftly as possible and not waste a single day with her. Epic road trips abound. Following that, we agreed there wasn’t much holding us in San Francisco, or the U.S.A for that matter. We’ve spent the last 8 years crafting most of our lives around giving Elwynn the best quality of life, and a lot of the decisions we made factor in the convenience of getting out of town or doing activities as a family. To read that may seem absurd to someone who has actual human children, but trust me if you’ve never experienced it for yourself, you’ll never know exactly what it means to love a bulldog.

This blog is a personal account of all of the beauty that still exists in the world and all the wonderful things we have and have yet to discover, as I see it. I still plan to pursue a career in the wine industry and will spend the majority of my time learning as much as I can in an immersive experience. We will visit vineyards and farms, and seek out volunteering opportunities where we can.

Not knowing what else is out there is mystifying. Not having the enthusiasm to search for what’s out there is certain stagnation which inevitably results in a slow death. A life unexplored, unimagined and not traveled is not a life worth living. – Me

I look forward to sharing many updates and photos and hope you enjoy following our journey and are inspired to get out and see more of the world. There is much to be grateful for, and there is always an opportunity to do something more meaningful with your life and maybe find ways to make an impact on someone else’s along the way.

Thank you for reading and following along.

-Leah, James, and Elwynn

Ireland, 2017

4 thoughts on “The Journey Begins”

  1. Looking forward to reading about your journey. You are so gifted, Leah, and your heart speaks so eloquently about the love you have for life and for those you love!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Looking forward to reading about your adventures and your wine studies! And I’m so sorry to hear about Elwynn. I’m a dog mom too, and what you’re doing doesn’t seem absurd at all to me. 🙂


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