She’s traveled to places around the world I can’t pronounce, experienced things I can’t even fathom, eaten foods I’m pretty sure would make me hurl, and met people who have warmly welcomed her into their homes, coconut farms and even a tent on a beach in Hawaii.
Meet Cassie Stockamp. Cassie is living her most badassery life as a world traveler seeking out truths. Truths about herself. Truths about ways to live. Truths about the “other” – which she’s learning along the way. She has been a successful business owner, president of a nonprofit, yoga instructor, bike commuter, and social activist. She’s also a single mom who raised two amazing daughters, with support from her ex-husband. Last year, at 57, she quit her job as a top executive to travel and volunteer around the world.
It wasn’t always easy for Cassie though. Early in her career, she bought the family business, grew it independent to an $8 million company and then, as she said, “followed it to its grave”. She’s the first to tell you that she went to hell and back when her business went upside down (she ran her family construction business for nine years), she experienced bankruptcy – her greatest fear, she lacked emotional intelligence early on when it came to managing employees and she experienced a painful divorce. But Cassie believes that her spiritual practice had evolved enough to understand that there was a lesson in all of it.
“I have no regrets,” shared Cassie. “It is – and was – my path. I had to learn all of the lessons to be where I am today. I’m grateful.”
Cassie said that she’s always had the courage to follow her heart without realizing it. She’s not sure if that’s a skill, but intuition and following her gut is something she uses more every day. It has helped her to know when she’s on the right path.
That path has led her around the world – something she really didn’t imagine doing until just a few years ago. Cassie considers her year-long journey as an “evolution and exploration of self”. In 2018, Cassie stepped down as president of the Athenaeum Foundation in Indianapolis – an organization she led since 2007, to pursue philanthropic opportunities throughout the world. First stop, Sydney, Australia, where she volunteered as a yoga instructor at a retreat center. From there she went to places like New Zealand, India, Sri Lanka, Argentina, Ecuador, South Africa, and Bali, where she volunteered her time at places like an organic flower farm, bush school, leper colony, disability cafe, and hostels. I encourage you to read her blog where she thoughtfully shares her experiences. She’s such a great writer too that you feel like you’re on the journey with her. I’ve been living vicariously through her travels for the past year (minus the near-death health issue she experienced in South Africa, which she shares too).
So what advice does Cassie have for the rest of us? “JUST DO IT! What’s the worst thing that could happen? If it doesn’t work out for you just try something else. Chasing security isn’t a path to freedom. In my mind that’s the jail sentence. Life happens and goes on whether you’re living your dreams or not. And we only have one life to live, so why not live the best version of ourselves?!”
In addition to giving great advice, Cassie has a strong belief that women can change our piece of the world by following what brings us joy and what we are passionate about. “The world is a better place because of those women – the women who are making change.”
So, I challenge you today (if you read to the end of this post), to go out and follow your passion and do what brings you joy. As Cassie so eloquently put it: “if it doesn’t work out, try something else.”
I had the privilege of hanging out with my dear friend while she was home for the holidays and interviewed her for my Badassery Life podcast. We talked more about her travels, including some of her favorite and unique experiences, how she healed from a painful illness, and what 2020 looks like (hint: it includes Columbia and biking across the U.S.).
I leave you with Cassie’s favorite quotes that she shared with me:
- “Life can only be understood backwards, but must be lived forward.” – Soren Kierkegaard
- And the most important one that guides her every day: “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.”