My biggest reset happened when I left my job to travel for six months.

I was working at a not-for-profit in Chicago doing event planning. I loved my job and it was a great learning experience. But after four years, I decided I wanted to do something a little more creative.

Traveling is something that I really love and something I knew I wanted to do more of. I planned my trip for a long time — I saved and organized my plans for a year.

My parents are big travelers and when we were kids, we took road trips with all five of us — I have two siblings — in the car. When I graduated from college, I went on a little trip to Europe — it was the first time I’d been out of the country. I went with a friend and we did a tour for two weeks and then went on our own for another month. On that trip, I realized how much is out there and how much there is to see. I also really enjoyed figuring it out on my own.

I ultimately traveled through Central and South America with a backpack for six months. It was less expensive to do that than it was to live in Chicago. There wasn’t necessarily an epiphany “moment” but the whole six months was a slow build of being so inspired by all of the things I saw and did. I realized I still loved planning events, I just wanted it to be a better mix of details/organization and creatively/styling. 

I had no idea what I was going to do when I came back. I couldn’t go back to my job. It’s really hard for me to stay in a position where I’m not 110 percent invested. Once I’ve decided it’s not for me, it’s really hard for me to muster the excitement and ability to get up every day.

I was broke and needed to do something. I had a friend who was getting married and she asked if I would coordinate her wedding. She said she just wanted someone to be in charge of making sure things would happen when they were supposed to. I said, sure.

I did it and realized I could do it as a business. I set up a website and made business cards and launched a Facebook page. I started posting to a few blogs and did two weddings for free in exchange for reviews just so I could get some web presence. Weddings are happening all the time, so it’s a good industry. I started Anticipation Events, which I’ve been running for nine years this summer.

 

Elizabeth Tulipana founded Anticipation Events in 2009 and continues her globetrotting travel adventures every chance she gets. 

Photo by Ryan Moore Photography.