No, those aren’t boating terms, but it is the question that changed the trajectory of my life…
As a marketing communications major at Boston University (go Terriers!) my first job was in the field of market research for commonly known consumer products. But before settling into my new corporate identity I chose to do what many college grads only dream of. Shortly after packing away the cap and gown, I set out to backpack through Europe on my own. It was truly awe-inspiring and showed me just how large the world is and how there really is no limit on choice.
Growing up in Ohio, I had little insight into the cultures and world beyond my borders. Innately however, I always sought freedom and my time in Europe as a newly appointed adult quenched my thirst for freedom…for a moment (2 years to be exact).
Life in Europe was beautiful, but my mom’s voice haunted me, “graduate, get a proper job and live a life to expectation.”
I packed it in, jumped on a plan and headed out to D.C. to begin doing market research for big corporate.
It wasn’t until I was handed the Tostitos Corn Chips account that it hit me. Traveling around the city hosting focus groups learning whether people preferred their corn chips with pointed corners or if the company’s latest round corn chip would satisfy their snack desires just the same.
Pointed corners or round edges?
Wait, what? Was this the life question that needed to be answered?
Clearly, I needed a break to avoid becoming jaded toward the beloved corn chip. I headed South…way South, to Key Largo, Florida. My resignation letter to big corporate soon followed.
I bought a boat and lived aboard on the open sea. I dingyed in and out for minimal work and recreation. Life was once again, good and borderless.
But the Universe had other plans and handed me a broken leg from a motorcycle accident that severely limited my ability to get around my humble home at sea.
I stumbled around (literally & figuratively) trying to find my North and it wasn’t long before the Universe took me up on a dare.
At the time I was helping a boyfriend obtain his captain’s license and found it so fascinating and so fitting with the vision I had for my life that I expressed my interest in also taking the course with him — “women can’t be captains, don’t be ridiculous.”
Pointed corners or round edges?
So, I ditched the guy and a fellow female boater began to show me the ropes. I was instantly smitten with the idea that I could make a living on the open sea; borderless. Several weeks later I became Captain Elizabeth Jolin.
As Captain, I chartered fishing trips and eco-snorkel tours and grew my business to a thriving watersports concession inside of a top luxury resort and spa.
It was during a corporate takeover of the resort that my compass once again went haywire — I had to find my new North. Corporate process, profit margins and board meetings were not my idea of a life without borders.
I reflected on my experience as a Captain, my vision for serving my community and the insights I had obtained in business, in life and at sea.
She’s At Sea was born of the unfortunate taboo that surrounds women at the helm. After my daughter, Sofia was born, the lack of female role models, captains and instructors became even more apparent. I decided it was my calling to remove borders once again that now surrounded young women in learning about the wonders of the ocean and how to safely navigate them with confidence.
She’s At Sea has offered large, small and private instruction to hundreds of female boat owners and sea lovers ages 5 to 75. Our mission is to remove the fear and mystery from boating and to empower seaworthy women who are self-reliant in navigation, safety and recreation of their vessels.
This program personally designed by me offers access to women and girls all over the world through our live instruction and digital courses and Certified She’s At Sea locations delivering the program within their respective clubs, communities and recreational programs.
It’s within your grasp, contact me now and begin a life without borders where life’s most pressing questions seem to fade into the sunset.
Pointed corners or rounded edges?