Maria or Cicilia are the names she goes by. I'll call her Cicilia and after talking to her about her journey in life, it's clear that she doesn't settle for anything less than her dreams. When she dreamt of living in "the land down under", amongst the koalas in Australia, she did exactly that! Whether there was some romance involved or not, you be the judge of that! Read on to learn more about her journey...
What was your life growing up?
I grew up in a family and kid-friendly suburb just outside of Stockholm with a big backyard full of cherry and apple trees. I lived near a national forest and always spent a lot of time in nature, but at an early age felt claustrophobic in our tiny society, city and even country and I thought, "Is this all I get!?" I decided around 10 years old that I would conquer the world, starting with Manhattan and Italy. I also told my parents I would live in Australia and see koalas. (Mind you, this was back in 1995, the world wasn't that small yet.) After high school, I moved to Italy and later to Philadelphia (not exactly New York but it was perfect in my eyes). I have since lived in Italy again, as well as Singapore, Bali and yes, Australia, where I saw the koalas on the great ocean road.
"I decided around 10 years old that I would conquer the world, starting with Manhattan and Italy."
What are you currently working on?
I worked within finance at a pharmaceutical company before I resigned, due to feeling it was killing my soul. Without a backup plan I applied for a job at a luxury wellness and resort company and got a job as an operations manager working from home, basically coordinating daily projects. This led me to Bali and Australia (and a hot Australian surfer I fell in love with whilst in Bali also played a small role in my decision to go there...). I would love to continue to work from home within travel and wellness, I love my yoga and I love to work with people. I am looking for new opportunities to expand my knowledge, learn new things, and keep evolving but also to stay on this traveling path.
What has been your boldest career move or life change?
Quitting a corporate job without any backup plan. The week after, I was headhunted for a position at Unilever which would have been a step up in my career and in salary, but I turned it down as it was too similar to what I had just left. I told them I had been offered a job in Bali without having even applied for any jobs in Bali. The following week, and I got the job at the resort company. Never have I ever felt so proud for following my instincts!
What has been the biggest obstacle during your journey?
Following my gut feeling and instincts. Also balancing that with being rational and practical. It can clash and that is again when you breathe and find a solution to everything. I have also had a great mentor, a very powerful and successful businesswoman from whom I've learned a lot. She used to tell me I am too emotional (this was 10 years ago) and I always admired how cool, calm and collected she was even though she had so much responsibilities and weight on her shoulders, but she made me realize that keeping your cool, being rational, and leaving emotions at the door has a huge importance.
How do you balance the demands of a job and daily life with nurturing this dream?
Eyes on the goal. Being patient and strategic and always follow that gut feeling. I also believe that pressure creates diamonds and yes it might be hard at times, but you will be proud of yourself for pushing through once its over. And breathe. Also enjoying every day, laughing a lot, and doing things you like to keep the passion for your dreams and goals going.
"I would like to help more people travel and see the world. Make them come out of their shells and see that traveling adds perspective on life and life decisions."
How are you using what you've been given in life to bring more good to the world? (Or how would you like to?)
I am trying to always act as a good example myself. Like walking the walk and talking the talk. I love to laugh and love to make other people feel comfortable and laugh and I feel I am good with that. I also try to show people I don't take myself too seriously, but can be very serious when needed.