My New Journey

Sally Grimes-Chesak talks about her latest adventure as the new Director of Marketing & Family Programs at Journeys International.

Sally and her family prepare for the Costa Rica Rainforest Adventure for Families trip with Journeys International.

If you had asked a younger me where my career was headed, the last place I’d have imagined is Journeys International. I was happily ensconced in my role as Executive Director of a start-up women’s advocacy nonprofit, with my sights set on managing more established nonprofits down the road.

But ten years ago, everything changed. First, I had a baby. Then, almost a year later, my husband returned from an 18-month deployment to Iraq. Soon after his return, unemployed, he began brainstorming with our long-time friend, the new President of the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA). One thing led to another, and he signed on as their VP of Business Development.

Suddenly our lives, which had been all about our early 30’s, married-without-kids pursuits, had opened up to a new world. We now had a daughter, another daughter soon followed, my husband had been to Iraq and Kuwait, and thanks to his new job, we were embarking into the world of adventure travel.

As Chris traveled with ATTA and shared his stories with me, I got the travel bug and we started plotting… how could all four of us see the world together?

It started in Mexico, where we explored ruins, cenotes, and the jungles of the Mayan Riviera. Not long after, I invited myself on a 10-day hostel-hopping exploration of France and Spain with my 21-year-old niece. Next, I joined Chris on a trip to Ecuador. All I could think was, ‘Where will I go next?’

Then in June, after 20 years on a consistent career path, I left my job, not knowing what was next. A dear friend, who is also a life coach and career counselor, advised me to take this opportunity to step back and look at what I wanted my next 20 years to look like. I kept coming back to these underlying themes: see the world, provide opportunities for my girls to experience other cultures, and help people fulfill their own adventurous dreams.

My family had already been gearing up for a Journeys International Family Adventure to Costa Rica. Through the preparations, I was fortunate to meet the Journeys President, Robin. We began brainstorming about Journeys International programs, and in the process, I started talking to Robin about joining the Journeys family.

After our Costa Rica trip, I couldn’t imagine working anywhere else. I was hooked – the Journeys program was stellar, our kids had a magnificent time, and I could see the path for my next 20 years.

So here I am, thrilled to be the new Marketing & Family Programs Director for Journeys International. It’s a true honor to be able to help families experience the world through an inter-generational lens. Shared experiences between grandparents and grandchildren, brothers and sisters, or family friends are memories that will last a lifetime.

I look forward to serving you, our extended Journeys family, and helping you make your memories. Please reach out to me and share your thoughts – for your kids, your parents, your aunts and uncles… where will YOU go next?

(Contact Sally Grimes-Chesak, Director of Marketing & Family Programs, at sally@journeysinternational.com or by calling the Journeys International office at 734-665-4407.)