“Loneliness isn’t the same as aloneness. You are lonely when you are living an unfulfilled life, as opposed to experiencing being alone, that teaches you peace and tranquility. My soul is full”
– Cori Geiger, Senior Project Manager, currently driving around the USA in her van as a solo female traveler
The pandemic left many unemployed, and pushed us to revert back into our consciousness to become more aware of what truly matters in our lives; what adds value. Being a remote-first company, AMP believes in enabling our employees to work with passion, but never to lose the inspirations that push them to be their individual best selves. Working remotely has allowed so many employees to achieve life-long goals of living in their dream cities, or spending time with family. For our very first employee spotlight, we’d like you all to meet Cori Geiger, who is taking full advantage of living life to her fullest, all while exceeding in her professional career here at AMP.
When the pandemic hit, Cori Geiger, 29, was faced with a life-changing experience when she lost her job and had to move back in with her mother. Fast forward to October 2021, she built a van from scratch and has traveled to more than 25 states with her dogs, Ellie and Roo, and is crushing it as a full time senior project manager at AMP Agency. She has over 45,000 followers on social media glued to her travel diaries every day.
We sat down with Cori and had the most wholesome conversation:
Was the #vanlife ever a possibility for you? How did you come to the decision that this is how you want to live your life?
C: It was never a thing. I worked in events for a while and got laid off after covid hit. Soon after, I had to move in with my mom at 29 years old, I honestly felt like a failure. I lost everything I built up to that point. The five months that followed were crucial to my psychological reset, I had been hustling my whole adult life and never paused to take a break- It was almost as if I had a clean slate and I saw it as an opportunity. This time gave me the brainspace I needed to slow down and really think about what I truly value in life. A big win for me was getting hired by AMP who just decided to go fully remote, it was like a wake up call. The idea really came from a Youtube series on tiny houses and living the minimalist life, so I was always intrigued by living small! And then when I discovered #vanlife it all clicked that this just made sense for my life.
So, how did you start the project? Where did you start? Did you build the van yourself?
C: It was definitely a process- I was trusting the process mostly. I bought the van in January 2021, and it took me over 8 months to fully build it. With my full-time job, I spent most of my time after work and on the weekends on the van. I had to use resources on the internet and extensive research to bring the van to life, so alongside all the building, I was learning so much about the whole process. Almost as if I was building my life back together from scratch, by myself. In September 2021 the van was complete and I hit the road on Labor Day weekend.
Check out the final product in this Youtube video.
Talk to us about the plan you had in mind- any maps or travel itineraries?
C: I did have a plan for the east coast, and ended up driving faster to avoid the climate conditions that brutal winter weather New England is hit with every year. When living the van-life, you have a loose plan, butit’s very interchangeable and a lot of it is made up on the fly, going with the flow.
Were you scared initially?
C: Being a solo female traveler, I was scared for the first few months getting into the van. I had to get past the mental aspect of being afraid, and traveling and working full-time. There is real actual fear when you feel in danger, and then there is anxiety and worrying about the “what ifs” – those are very different and after time you learn to calm down the anxious fear. Just like anything, the more you practice the more comfortable you get. There’s a stigma around solo female travelers and how unsafe it is to be alone, but from my first hand experience, I feel very safe the majority of the time.
About work… How did you get yourself focused, given you being on the road 24/7?
C: At first it does feel like you’re on vacation, and I was definitely in vacation mode. But then it hits you.. This is your life and your home. So just like you would get settled in a new home, I also got settled in the van as my home and started creating daily routines that helped me stay focused and productive.
Talk to us about your experience with strangers while on the road
C: So funny story… once during traveling I got my van stuck (badly), and some strangers offered to help me. It took two whole hours out of their day and about 4-5 kind strangers stopped what they were doing to help me. Being on the road, I got out of the negative spin that “the world is a terrible space.” Energy is everything, your energy attracts the energy you give off.
Being a solo-traveler, how do you treat loneliness?
C: Well, loneliness and aloneness are two very separate things. Just because I am alone in a van doesn’t mean that I’m lonely. I feel super fulfilled every day, in my aloneness. I wake up everyday excited for the possibilities, and am proud of my life so I don’t ever have time to sit around and feel lonely because I am just so happy with each new day.
That’s beautiful, how about your two little furry travel companions?
C: Yes! I’ve had Ellie for two years, and just adopted Roo while I was still on the road. I sensed that Ellie might need a furry friend while on the road, and there came Roo. Now they are best buddies and I can tell Ellie is enjoying the road a lot more with her buddy and Roo is the absolute sweetest pup!
What is one piece of advice you’d like to give to the one reading this?
C: If you have a goal and it seems really hard and out of reach, take those baby steps, just take that one step forward, no matter how small or big. You have to trust your gut and follow it’s calling. This is my message to you: GO FOR IT!
This brings our employee spotlight of the month to an end. We are amazed at the life that Cori has built for herself, all while excelling in her career as a senior project manager here at AMP Agency. Oftentimes we get to hear people doing all these cool things, but the stories behind those humans are what enable others to take risks and bring more value to their lives. While what Cori is doing has its fair share of struggles, the reward is nourishing her soul. She has taught us that with a set goal in mind, the willingness to learn and quite literally build your life back up with your bare hands, you have a chance of living your dream life too. Cori’s travel diaries and life inspire us daily. We are lucky to have her as an employee, but more importantly, we are lucky to have her as a human of AMP. Stay shining and stay growing, Cori.
Be sure to follow her travel escapades on social media:
Van Life Resources + Links: https://beacons.ai/coriontheroad