Why I left my successful career to dig wells in Africa

Kristen had been a television executive in Hollywood for 10 years when she realized she wanted to change her life. She loved the creative aspect of her job, going onto the set and mixing with the actors and the producers. She found it very fun and social. However, she never felt like she was doing anything meaningful.

“The job just wasn’t in line with my spirit. I’d always had this dream of going to Africa. My last day of work, I packed up my office, went to my goodbye lunch and that afternoon I was on a plane to Kenya.”

Kenya was definitely one of the most challenging experiences of Kristen’s whole life. She had the opportunity to travel with a female tribal leader and went through out the bush and talked with other women. Day after day she heard the same story. “These women spend their entire lives looking for water.”

Women look for water all day, so it does not leave them anything thing else to do during the day, such as have a job, or care for their children. The women don’t have the ability to make money or to have freedom. They are oppressed and live under the rein of the men in their society.

“They don’t have the ability to make choices, such as saying yes to having sex with their husbands who are infected with HIV. Because they don’t have water the kids don’t go to school. The list just goes on!”

After spending many weeks with these women and learning about their issue with water and not having it, Kristen decided she wanted to do something to help these women change their lives. “What I decided was that if I was going to do anything I was going to help them get water. So I came back to L.A. and started The Samburu Project which is a non-profit organization that helps bring these people water.”

Since starting this project, every aspect of her life has changed. Kristen used to make money, and now she doesn’t. She has had to scale back, in order to run a non-profit organization and hold four other odd jobs all at the same time.

“I realize now I wasn’t unhappy with my life in Los Angeles, I just didn’t feel like I was doing what I was supposed to do, what my spirit was called to do. Now, I feel like I am doing what I was supposed to do. In [America] we have the luxury of following our dreams…and that is what I am doing, my dream.”

If you would like to get involved, check out the following resources.

The Great Project
Kristen came up with the Samburu Project after traveling through Kenya. The project aims to build 25 wells in parched Samburu, Kenya.

Give Til It Feels Good
You’ve got that giving gene in you, and Just Give helps you feel even better about your generosity with inspiring stories of change and challenges to do more.

Find Your Purpose
Volunteer Match can pair you with causes that are close to your heart and close to your home.

One Child At a Time
The Children’s Hunger Relief Fund works to provide safe drinking water and meals to impoverished children all over the world.

Beer savvy… it’s not just for men anymore

Christina was working in a beer bar as a bartender, when she began exploring the finer nuances of each beer she was selling.

“I realized that no one knew about beer and all of its great qualities and how it paired better with food than a lot of wines did,” she said. “I started making it my life and nerded out on beer. I started home brewing, visiting breweries, and tasting beers from all over.”

Christina quit her job with nothing lined up other than her projects and her intention to synthesize the ten years of bartending experience she had with her passion for writing.

“I have a degree in Journalism from Indiana University, and there was something about food and beverage that I really like,” she said. “There was a reason that I was writing all the time, and when I realized my interest in beer it all came together. As soon as I decided what I wanted to do, a flood of opportunities just came my way: book opportunities, writing opportunities, restaurant opportunities.”

Christina noticed a lot of women said they didn’t like beer, or that they would only drink light beer. She was convinced it was because they had a misconception of beer; they didn’t know what beer could taste like. They were never exposed to beers that had wonderful complex flavors like hazelnut, creamy chocolate, or spicey lemongrass.

“I am a believer in responsible drinking and one of the things about people who are paying attention to tasting the nuances of beer is that they are not drinking it as fast; it is not something where you do not care about the flavor. You are pairing it with food, so you are appreciating the flavor, texture, the beginning, the middle, and the end of the beer.”

Christina started feeling like she was an ambassador for beer. She started to love her job and enjoy herself more. When you start doing something you love, a mental transformation takes place. You become more peaceful and healthy.

“Learning about beer for me made me more valuable to my job and also opened up a whole new world for me,” she said. “Truly it was risking something, taking off of the training wheels. Before I would have so much self-doubt. I thought my idea was crazy and didn’t think anyone would be interested in it, but the more I just relied on what I had seen I realized that I really did have a good idea. The difference really is confidence.”

Head on over and quench your thirst on Christina’s beer blog, where she covers cool events, samples new brews and suggests fine beer-entrĂ©e pairings.

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Brew it Yourself!
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Smarter, Not Harder
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Make the Jump
If you’re about to crash and burn from boredom at your job, try What Color Is Your Parachute, the book that’s been leading people to their passion for more than 40 years.