After nearly four years in London, I have quit my job and will be moving back to the US on August 30th to spend time with my family and pursue a new career!!

Wow. That felt good to announce!

If you’ve already read my updated About Claire page, or have noticed my suddenly US-centric travel and race plans, then my news probably hasn’t come as a surprise.

I’ve wanted to change careers (or, from my perspective, finally start my career) for several years, but was never quite sure what I wanted to do. As a result, my priorities up until now have focused predominantly on life experience (travel, relationships, where I am living more than what I am doing) rather than pursuing a career that is more in line with my interests.

Just to give some background – after college, I fell into a corporate job in New York City, which I eventually quit to travel in South America, which inspired me to move to London (and travel as much as possible), where I ended up in another corporate job in the same industry, since that was my best shot at receiving a sponsored visa. Although not the right fit for me in the long term, my current BD & Marketing job has been a positive experience, and has provided me with skills that will prove useful down the line. I have also grown to love London, very much in fact. I look at my one-way ticket back to California and am happy to go HOME, but also extremely sad to leave what now feels like home.

I’m slightly nervous about starting a new career at this stage of my life, but I certainly don’t regret anything I’ve done. Every single thing that has happened since graduation has led me to where I am now – including my love of running. I’m not sure if I would have become such a keen distance runner had I not moved to London, met my running buddy (who encouraged me to enter my first half marathon), discovered my coach etc! And had I not entered my first marathon and become completely running obsessed, I probably wouldn’t have met E, either. Everything happens for a reason – I truly do believe that and am grateful for all of my past experiences, good and bad, which have each carried me to this moment.

In fact, my renewed passion for running (and healthy living, generally) ultimately helped inspire my career choice. I have decided to become a Registered Dietitian (RD), and a running coach on the side. I’ve always had an interest in nutrition and other issues relating to health, fitness and food (and as a side note, I also happen to be the only non-doctor in my family), so I am very excited to begin my new career path. I think it will suit me well.

As you know, I’ve already registered for RRCA’s coaching certification course (along with the Portland marathon) in early October, so those wheels are already in motion. I should be fully certified by the end of October and ready to take on coaching clients!

In terms of RD programs, this is where my plans are still fuzzy. Ideally, I would have applied to schools and resigned after having been accepted somewhere, but it’s not quite happening that way. I decided I was going to take the plunge after the fall/winter deadlines had already passed for September 2011 start dates, and I didn’t want to stay in my job past August. I’ve long outgrown my role and desperately need to get out and regroup before moving forward. Also, my older sister is having a baby, and it’s important to me that I spend an extended amount of time with my niece and the rest of my family after six years of living/traveling abroad. So, I decided it was time to go, even without a clear plan in place.

I’m very much into plans, so handing in my letter of resignation yesterday was both exhilarating and terrifying! Since I did my Bachelors in Humanities and my Masters in Music, I have very little science background, which means I have lots of catching up to do before I can enroll in many nutrition programs. And then depending on which school I choose (I’m considering schools in NY and CA), I won’t actually start my program until January or, more likely, September 2012! Applications for 2012 are due in October/November and I haven’t started them yet…

I have so much to do in the coming months (moving countries, school applications, marathon training, and so on), it’s making my head spin! But I’m taking things one step at a time so that I don’t get too overwhelmed, while also making sure that I savor my last moments in London as well as my first moments as an aunt. Everything will fall into place eventually – I know I’m making the right move and am confident in my decision, even if it feels somewhat bittersweet.