Biomedical Engineer Avione Lee took a break from her career in medical research to pursue her passion for storytelling. The next thing you know, she and her husband had sold their house, bought an RV camper and were traveling the United States with their two small children. That’s the thing about following one’s passions, once you start, there is no end to the adventures the path may lead to.
What was your previous career?
I have a PhD in Biomedical Engineering and worked in medical research and development.
Why did you want to leave and do something else?
Though I did enjoy the people I worked with, I started to feel that this path was not for me. My mind would wander at work onto story ideas or a topic that I wanted to explore that had little to do with my field.
On top of that, my husband, who is also a biomedical engineer, and I realized that we barely got to see our children because we always had to finish up a research project that needed our attention. Our typical day entailed waking up around 5 a.m. so that we could get our children to their daycare at 6 am, working a full day, then picking our kids up from the daycare at 6 p.m. By the time we got home, all we had the energy to do was eat a family dinner and go to sleep.
My husband and I had talked about starting our own business and focusing on my writing for about a year. We also had the dream to take time off and travel as a family. But the demands of living a typical American life weighed on us. By this point, I was writing story ideas at night after everyone went to bed, and we tried to squeeze in as much fun family time as we could on the weekend.
After living this way for around a year, we found our own kind of groove. I was finishing up a book and I was able to get a side writing job. But we were still stuck in the 6 am to 6 pm grind.
What was your final “jumping point”? What was the urge that finally made you move forward and do it — pursue your passion?
Surprisingly, it was a marathon! I won’t go into too much detail, but physical activity, especially when combined with meditation, can become an awakening experience as it was with my husband. After running a half marathon he came back and said, let’s do it. Let’s at least try.