Travel Journal: Life Changing Moments

Have you ever had a single event that you can trace back to the pivot point? The event, conversation, moment that you made a decision that would change the course of your life? Most of us have several in the course of our lifetimes, and my first one was eight years ago. 

I was a sophomore in college and on my way to a summer filled with adventure, culture, art and new experiences. I was boarding a plane with twenty of my classmates to spend an entire summer in Europe on the Vienna Studies program through Oklahoma Christian University. 

I went into this trip with a lot of frustration and unknowns. I was restless and unhappy in my current business major and felt a pull towards something else, but I didn't know exactly what. I had been considering an art major, but it seemed so intimidating to start completely fresh two years into college. Also a week before I left for my trip, Caleb officially asked me to be his girlfriend, which was exciting, but also frustrating, because I was starting an "official" relationship with someone I really liked hundreds of miles away, through occasional skype and email conversations when I could get wifi. 


This trip opened my closed off mind to new experiences, new ways of doing things and new possibilities. It also allowed me to step outside of myself and get out of my own head. On coming back to the US, I had gained enough clarity and confidence to change my major to art and didn't look back.  And whoever came up with the quote "distance makes the heart grow fonder" was wise, because two years later I was engaged to Caleb and planning a wedding! 

Fast forward to this year, 2017 and another life changing moment that conveniently came two months before leaving for a Europe trip that had been years in the making.

In July an event took place that moved me to finally launch Hayley Bigham Designs completely full-time. Although very risky and intimidating, I was ready to take the leap and explore the possibility of working for myself. It was a stressful decision and there were many sleepless nights of planning and worrying, but on the horizon was Caleb and I's first trip together to Europe. We would be visiting some of the same places I visited eight years ago, and it was that that kept me going. I kept telling myself "if I could only get to Europe, I could come back completely inspired and ready to fully jump in with two months of business ownership under my belt."

September came and in the middle of three client projects, we boarded a plane for two full weeks in Europe, completely disconnected from work and our little world in Tulsa. This was a huge risk for a two month old business, but thanks to gracious clients, support from my creative business group and friends, and email auto-responders, we were off! 


I got so many questions and concerns from caring friends and family. How could I take the risk to leave my brand new business for two full weeks, with no access to email for client emergencies or new inquiries? What if something happened, bad or good? Honestly, my answer is that I trusted in my open communication and previously set expectations with clients, and prayers that nothing crazy would happen or if an incredible opportunity came my way, it would be waiting for me when I got back. 

And just like you probably guessed, my clients were there, ready to jump back into the process, as well a several inquiries that were so amazing enough to wait for me to get back to make a decision. My little business is truly blessed with some amazing clients. I couldn't be happier with the people I get to work with each day. 

This trip truly felt like a full circle and was very nostalgic for me. If I could have only had a taste of what today would look like eight years ago, when a much younger Hayley was boarding that plane for study abroad, frustrated, restless and ready for an adventure. I would have seen my happy marriage of five years to the boy I was leaving back in the US and that I was using that intimidating art major to build my own legacy. What a crazy feeling! 

We spent the next two weeks in London, Paris, Berlin and Vienna, eating our way through each city, walking 15 miles a day, soaking up the architecture, art and history, and living it up while we navigated the wonderful world of public transportation (please Oklahoma, get on board!). We had an amazing trip and I will never get tired looking at our pictures and videos and thinking back to our adventures. 


I know you are wondering when I'll start sharing pictures and our favorite places in each city, so you win, my next several blogposts will be all about our travels, places we went, restaurants we loved, and art....all the art, incase you are planning a trip of your own!