Dive into the inspiring story of Elodie, a talent recruiter manager at IVY Partners, who decided to take a career break to embark on an incredible camping-car adventure with her family. This journey has transformed her perspective on life and work, offering unforgettable moments and valuable insights. Explore the remarkable destinations, the challenges she overcame, and the influence of this experience on her personal and professional development.
Why did you decide to take this family trip?
While the desire for discovery played a significant role, it was also about seeing the world around me with my own eyes, getting inspired by others and their way of life. Then, the children came along, started growing up, and like many others, life became a fast-paced whirlwind. The morning stress, long school days for them, evenings as short and stressful as mornings.
It became important for me to spend quality time with my family and break away from this daily routine. Lastly, I wanted my children to develop a broad mindset necessary for the world they will live in, and I wanted them to grow up knowing that there is no predefined path and that anything is possible if we put in the effort.
What is your best memory?
It’s so difficult because this year has been a succession of memorable moments.
One thing I am certain of is that the country that left a lasting impression on me, moved me, captivated me, and amazed me, is Turkey. Discovering a people with such a sense of hospitality, even when they have very little, with tolerance for other cultures and beliefs, a country with breathtaking landscapes.
In this country, we had stars in our eyes as we flew over Cappadocia in a hot air balloon, our hearts filled as we were welcomed into people’s homes as if we were their own family, we cried with this country during the earthquake, and we helped them in our own way. We shared powerful moments with other traveling families and left with a heavy heart…
Sweden is also among our top countries for its quality of life, stunning lakes as far as the eye can see, and the emphasis placed on children. Norway, with its landscapes, is equally unmatched; it amazed us at every turn. I will never forget the Northern Lights in Norway, our remarriage in Sweden, the evenings around the fire, the hot air balloons in Cappadocia, paragliding in Greece, encounters with animals (orcas, reindeer, moose, sea turtles, land turtles, stray dogs), Christmas on a beach, panoramic roads…
But what I hadn’t anticipated was the importance of the connections. All my best memories are intertwined with the people with whom we shared so much. We lived with other traveling families for sometimes several months, sometimes just an evening, and we formed strong bonds and experienced unforgettable moments. They have become our friends, our family, and playmates for the children…
What lessons have you learned from this experience?
I would say that this journey allowed me to refocus on my priorities and learn more about myself, my children, and my husband. Living in such close proximity 24/7, it becomes impossible to hide our vulnerabilities from each other. Our family is more united than ever, built on genuine and authentic relationships, in the best and worst of times. Learning to communicate to maintain this bond is truly one of the most beautiful lessons of this year.
It has also taught me to live in a much more minimalist world, and now I find that I have too many things while living in a 12m2 space with four people. It’s a lifestyle I want to maintain when I return. The advantage of traveling to countries that haven’t yet reached our ecological awareness is that I’ve been able to see, and especially show my children, the devastating effects of overconsumption. Forests, beaches, mountains… buried under waste, disappearing wildlife, and ravaged cities…
Furthermore, I draw great inspiration from the people I’ve met this year. I’ve had the privilege of enriching myself personally through encounters with individuals who, despite having very little, are willing to give us everything just to see a smile on our faces. They are a true example to me.
Were there any unexpected challenges during the journey?
There were 3 main ones:
Every morning, five days a week, I put on my teacher hat for an hour or two. This is where 70% of conflicts arise because the children often lack motivation. Can we blame them when they see the beach outside the window? I put a lot of pressure on myself initially, but I was reassured by how quickly they progressed, and I was able to adapt the program, pace, and teaching methods to make it more enjoyable for everyone.
- Family Proximity
It’s what we sought and what we love, but sometimes a little respite would help relieve the pressure. Periods when the children are overly excited or agitated create tension within the entire family unit. In such cases, surprisingly, the solution is for the four of us to isolate ourselves. We make sure not to encounter other families for a few days and settle in a calm place for a while. Slowing down, not driving, and taking time to rest really helps.
This is THE part we hadn’t anticipated. We didn’t expect to form such strong bonds with other travelers. In our daily lives, we usually encounter the same people, and we know that goodbyes are usually short-term. During our journey, we sometimes live with people for weeks or even months, only to part ways for an indefinite period. Some of our friends won’t return from their travels for several years. Other times, we spend just a day or two with a family, and the children play together a lot, only to leave without knowing if they’ll ever see each other again. It’s very difficult for them. Fortunately, social media helps us maintain the connection (after all, the role of IT is never far away!).
How has this journey contributed to your personal development?
This journey has truly allowed me to take a step back and take time for myself. I was able to start practicing yoga and meditation, which helps me manage the more stressful moments of daily life (yes, they exist). I used to be someone who was always in a rush, never taking the time to slow down.
Today, I am capable of living in the present and appreciating each moment. I had the time to reflect on who I truly am, what I aspire to be, and each day I strive to become the version of myself that I want to be.
How did IVY Partners support you in your project?
I am incredibly fortunate that IVY has supported me throughout this adventure from the beginning. They have always been aware of my project and helped me implement it in the best possible way.
They offered me the opportunity to take a one-year leave, which allowed me to embark on this journey with the confidence of having job security upon my return.
As I approach my return, we are in contact to prepare for a smooth reintegration, and I thank them for supporting me until the end.
What skills have you developed that will benefit you as a recruitment manager?
Aside from everything else, this journey has brought me a much greater open-mindedness. I have learned not to judge people at first sight and to truly get to know who they are. This is a strength in the field of recruitment.
I have also strengthened my organizational skills. Every evening, I have to find a place to sleep while managing water and fuel levels, planning groceries, meals, and laundry in small spaces. I have to handle administrative tasks remotely, including taxes, insurance, and customs procedures.
I have to anticipate the itinerary based on time, weather, and geopolitical constraints. I have to co-pilot the routes, taking into account the unreliability of GPS systems in certain countries and the size of our vehicle. I have to prepare and ensure daily schooling for the children. I have to manage our social media accounts so our loved ones can follow our journey.
All of this requires well-structured organization and versatility, which will undoubtedly be valuable in my professional organization.
How has this journey influenced your work-life balance?
This year with my children has made me realize how quickly they are growing up and the importance of being present by their side to witness their development. Whereas I used to neglect this aspect, I will make an effort to give them the attention they deserve in my daily life.
It’s not just about quantity but also about quality. I have learned that regardless of the duration, what matters is being fully dedicated to them during the time we spend together. Sharing their games, doing activities as a family, having a movie night—these are the moments that will shape their childhood.
The same applies to my partner. Our only time together during this journey is in the evenings when the children are finally asleep. We have developed a habit of sitting down together, having a cup of tea, enjoying a piece of chocolate, and planning the next leg of our journey or playing a board game. We will strive to preserve these moments for ourselves.
How do you feel about returning to work at IVY Partners?
This journey has never been an escape from the professional environment, and I always knew that I would reintegrate with IVY Partners after this year. Although this journey has gone by too quickly and I would have loved to extend it, I am also excited to return to the work environment that I have always appreciated.
After the adventure I have just experienced, the human aspect is even more important to me. The world would be nothing without individuals who are all different and learn from each other to grow and build together. A company is nothing without the individuals who comprise it and work together to make it evolve.
I know that IVY is aligned with these values that are becoming increasingly precious to me, and I genuinely wish to contribute to their dissemination. Through the role that will be mine, I aspire to be the guardian of the human aspect that we are capable of bringing to IVY’s employees as well as to the outside world.