The Question of Why: How I Got a Step Closer to My Life’s Purpose

Pairs Well With…Slight Changes in Course + Mind Benders + Deep thinking + Self Reflection

You know that feeling you get when you read something that doesn’t sit well with you, for whatever reason?  Maybe an article or an idiotic tweet, and it makes your blood boil? You’re fired up and your first instinct is to fire back, but instead, you eye roll to yourself, move on and perhaps think about it here and there throughout the course of the day.

But then there are times when what you read strikes a cord and forces you to think a lot – because somewhere deep down it hits home.  And you can’t stop thinking about it.  And you wish you’d never read it in the first place because somehow, it got you rethinking your actions.

Here, I’ll tell you what I mean. It all started in March back in Hanoi, Vietnam….

la long bay Vietnam

Ha Long Bay Views


I had just landed from Ho Chi Minh City and was about to embark on my first big paid content assignment for a global client. This job was big time, as far as I was concerned, and though I feel like a storyteller extraordinaire most days, I was still a bit nervous.  The company was even paying for my round trip flight on their seaplane, and that isn’t cheap either.  I was starting to get this freelance thing down nicely if I do say so myself.


seaplane ha long bay vietnam travel

A rainy day return flight


Just when I thought I had my life all figured out…

I was in my cab catching up on my morning social medias. My scrolling came to a halt as I began reading this lengthy Instagram post. This excerpt, pulled from the larger message, is the part that got to me:

“The more ‘why’ questions you ask yourself, the more you move towards your real life project, which is what do I conceptually want to leave behind.”

First of all, this was a very mind bending question for 9 am and not being caffeinated. Secondly, what was this post even saying?  Why are people trying to make my life on the road harder than it already is?  I mean, isn’t it enough that I quit my job to figure out my life’s purpose, let alone this extra pressure? I reread the post a few times, and I started questioning myself, something maybe I don’t do often enough. I’m a “just do it” kinda gal.

And so, mainly because my cab ride was obscenely long, and I didn’t want to anticipate my death watching these crazy Hanoi drivers, I started the why exercise. (If you do try this, prepare for where it takes you. Just sayin’.)

I asked myself a multitude of questions:

  • Why am I here?
  • Why did I decide to travel for an entire year?
  • Why did this company fly me out to write for them?
  • Why didn’t I have coffee on the plane?
  • Why do I always gravitate to the non-traditional path of life?
  • Why is it raining today? I didn’t bring warm clothes. (Get back on track Carin…focus!)
  • Why isn’t wine more readily available in Asia? (Now, you’re becoming that Askhole kid from Home Alone! Pull it together.  You want these answers.)
  • Why do I feel I that my biggest success stories will come from running my own business?


(You’ll see from the questions in my head, there’s a theme song that pairs well with these type of thoughts. It’s called Circus Theme, and it’s the worst when one thought triggers a thinking spiral. Ya feel me?)

The list goes on and on. The most frustrating part was when I realized what was firing me up. Many of my answers were “I don’t knows,” and that’s not a good sign because you should always live with purpose. For me, it was an indicator that I had a lot to think about and many hours of goal setting and reflection ahead of me.  Another thing for the endless to-do list.

Pause. Fast forward.  A few months later, I finally had answers to those questions:

  • Why am I here? To build a business outside the confines of a cubicle.
  • Why did I decide to travel for an entire year? To fulfill my dream of living abroad, meet some amazing collaborators along the way, and maybe even test my own capabilities, both personally and professionally.
  • Why did this company fly me out to write for them? They see my talent – and if they do, others do, too.
  • Why do I always gravitate to the non-traditional path?  I refuse to settle for less than I want, even if it means busting ass day in and day out for the perfect work set up.  To me, traditional is boring.  Anyone can do it.  You can choose to reach high or you can choose to coast.
  • Why do I feel I that my biggest success stories will come from running my own business? Because when you invest in yourself, you tell the world that you believe in yourself. You believe in your talents, capabilities, creativity…all while leaving fear behind to continue making forward progress and writing the next chapter in your story.


Storytelling is a talent of mine, and it’s something you’ll continue to see me do more of, both for myself and for others.  In regards to content…well, the good stuff leaves a lasting impression and causes you to think more deeply.  So, the person who created this post got his job done (and his point across) well.  So much so that I devoted a considerable amount of time thinking about it.

So, what’s on YOUR mind?  As always, feel free to drop me a line.  You know I love hearing from you while I’m on the road.

seaplane ha long bay vietnam carin

Ready for takeoff: My first seaplane experience

7 Responses to “The Question of Why: How I Got a Step Closer to My Life’s Purpose”

  1. Amy Rancour

    Carin, I have enjoyed reading your blog so much and it has had the same effect on me as you describe the post you had read did to you!!! I just need to contemplate and think a little further for some of those answers! They are coming, slowly, but still gravitating to the surface. Keep the blogs and articles coming so I can keep enjoying and finding my own answers!!!


      Hi Amy! Thanks for the feedback. You can’t see it right now, but I’m raising the roof over here in Belgrade. I’m glad this post struck emotion in you. I appreciate the encouragement and there’s lots of good think pieces and other fun content to come your way from around the globe!

      • LeAnn

        Welcome to the 3% Carin! No not necessarily THAT 3% as it is never guaranteed but the 3% of the population who know they are completely un-hirable. Safety, security, regular paychecks…. we scoff (and pray) around those. Congratulations on your success! Very curious if you will have a Welcome Home or just a Welcome Back to Minnesota party at the end of this. Where will home be now? Hugs!


          Thanks! Still working hard. Not quittin’ time yet. I’m not presently sharing future plans just yet. Still A LOT can change over the course of the next three months. Stay tuned! 😉 I’ll be in touch.

  2. Diane Staba

    You are truly extraordinary! Since the inception of your Pairs Well with blog, you have proven yourself of the many talents you have in the lifestyle you have chosen. You should be very proud of all you have accomplished ! I’ll share this message that my high school teacher wrote : “Do your best , not because your job is worth it but because you are “. And to me ,
    there’s no question …
    You are at your very best ⭐️


      This is probably the nicest message I could have woken up to. I truly appreciate it, and I’m giving all I can to soak up life’s lessons on this year’s trip and to come out ahead. It’s taken a lot of work and not every day looks as glamours as it is on Instagram, but there’s lots of blood, sweat and tears happening behind the scenes. Here’s to hoping things continue to look up over the next six months!


Leave a Reply

  • (will not be published)