There’s a certain pressure that comes with having the last name of Bright. I’ve always felt a need to be perpetually peppy. It’s tough to maintain such an upbeat tempo, but I can’t imagine life any other way!
I grew up in San Diego, which also may have contributed to my sunny disposition. Plenty of blue skies and warm days. My youth was filled with lots of activities and sports, summers on the beach, pool and dance parties with my friends and a really bad sense of style. I was a teenager for most of the 80’s. The fashion may have been, like, gag me with a spoon, but the music was totally rad, dude.
I graduated from UCSB in with a Communication degree. Santa Barbara is one of those surreally beautiful places that makes you want to win the lottery and buy a mansion in Montecito. What a fantastic place to attend university.
After UCSB, the year in San Francisco taught me that I didn’t want to be an attorney and that I’m not a fan of bone-chilling, cold weather. The next year in Newport Beach helped me realize that I wasn’t, thank goodness, going to marry that jerk. A move back to Santa Barbara got me on track professionally. Five years in Los Angeles lent more professional growth, an insider’s view to the entertainment industry, and a chance to make some really good friends.
Even when I read over my journals, which I’ve kept since I was eleven, I can’t pinpoint the exact time when my desire for travel was sparked. Perhaps it was in junior high when everyone else got to go on the Washington DC trip. I felt so left out! It might have been my senior year in high school when I went “on tour” with Ensemble to Boston and New York.
I know my senior spring break in college played a role. Jeff and Randy were living in the British Virgin Islands. I had to visit. What a tropical, bliss-filled 10 days that was. Those journal entries definitely mention my desire to travel more.
The two weeks I spent in Russia hosting the UCSB Alumni trip in 1996 most certainly made an impact. I got to use a wee little bit of the Russian I learned in high school. Something definitely clicked then.
Shortly after I planned the inaugural Alumni Reunion for the American Film Institute in 1998, I took off on a 3-week trip to Italy. That solo journey changed my life. That and deepened my attraction for dark-haired, dark-eyed men! Those Italians have a unique passion for life.
Sometime in 2001 my life path reached a fork in the road. In one direction was my marketing/events career. Connecting people through events had become second nature to me. Heck, I had my own event planning business when I was in high school. I’ve always known how to throw a fabulous soiree. But that career path, after so many years, did not deliver a deep sense of satisfaction. In the other direction was my desire for travel, the unknown, a chance to take a risk in life.
After an insane amount of research I set my sights on teaching English in Japan with the JET Programme. In July 2002, that dream came true and I arrived in Shizuoka. Japan quickly became my home and remained so for five years. No words can capture the feelings I have in my heart for Japan, the culture and all of the wonderful people who touched my life. My adorable little students, the lights of my life, made every day a joy. Having left in July 2007, I still find I am often homesick for Japan. My quick visit for two weeks in May of 2010 was good enough to check in, but too short to really get in good quality time with my friends and students.
At some point during my five years in J-land, I had to begin answering the question, “What’s next?” And so after a fair amount of research and a deep look inside my soul, I decided that I would spend as much time as I could exploring other countries, learning about different cultures and embracing new friends around the world.
On March 13, 2008, I left California on a one-way flight to Thailand, the beginning of a five-month journey through S.E. Asia and Europe. It was such an incredible experience to explore new countries and destinations, learn about fascinating people and cultures, try new and delicious foods, meet amazing people from all sorts of places, capture the essence of memories with my camera and simply soak up all the little lessons which life has to offer. The journey was fabulous, and one which will stay with me forever.
When funds dwindled down, though, it was time to head back home. After just a few months back in the States, I landed a terrific job, returning to my career in hospitality as the Group Director of Sales & Marketing for a boutique hotel group. On November 28th, 2008, I moved to Hanoi, Vietnam for a new job, a new life and plenty of opportunity.
Once again, this chapter in my life provided many intriguing moments. Vietnam offers a host of challenges to any foreigner who chooses to visit or live and I found I navigated that territory with objectivity and patience. For me, it was not the most enjoyable place to live, but I am a better person for having done it. As with all of my experiences abroad, life lends some wonderful lessons. I treasure the friendships I made and strengthened in Vietnam, as well.
When I returned to the U.S. in December 2010, I decided to stay for awhile. It was time to venture out on my own in life and in business. Bright Life Media (formerly Beaming Bohemian) infuses communication with positivity and purpose and empowers you to build a meaningful, personable brand which connect and inspires people. Through Bright Life Media, I work with university and student groups to provide social media, personal branding and reputation management education.
I am also the proud founder of Private Clubs Online, which serves as the best resource for private club professionals to learn how to effectively communicate with members in the way the world communicates today – online. Private Clubs Online provides an opportunity to discover how you can boost revenue, enrich your club culture and retain members, with a well developed content plan and strategic social media marketing. In the first quarter of 2015, I will be launching a comprehensive online course.
Yet again, I embark on a new adventure!
You can read stories on my current Blog; I’m still adding stories from Japan from my old website. And please make sure to visit Bright Life Media and Private Clubs Online. I’m super proud of the work I’ve achieved, together with my clients. I hope you’ll bookmark this site, and come back often. I hope you’ll enjoy life On The Bright Side!