Jenna Wazny: Adventure Seeker
Jenna spends her days in Bend, Oregon as a Montessori preschool teacher, yoga instructor and event coordinator at Avid Cidery. When she's not busy hustling at her many jobs, she is busy planning her next adventure, filling every school break with trips that inspire everyone she knows to live big. Even more inspiring than her passport is the work and dedication she pours into all she does and her ability to turn setbacks and unexpected circumstances into opportunities for growth.
WD: What is the biggest challenge in your personal life?
JW: Wrestling with my intrinsic independent and wandering soul and meeting a life partner to wander around with. Also, online dating. I vacillate with it... the non-organic aspect really bothers me, yet otherwise it's pretty difficult to meet single men in Bend who aren't suffering from Peter Pan syndrome ;)
WD: What is the most satisfying aspect of your personal life?
JW: My freedom. I often work long days/nights between the three jobs, all of which I adore. I can choose to stay out with friends (as long as it's not a school night) without having to "check in" or go to bed at a wicked early hour. I love being able to make plans with so many people and balance it with work commitments. I can arrive when I want or plan, and choose when to leave. It's pretty great :)
WD: What is your work/occupation?
JW: Montessori Primary teacher (3-6 year olds), yoga teacher and I also work for Avid Cider Company (working in the tap room and book all the live music for our summer concert series, and all of our special events).
WD: Is that what you thought you would be doing?
JW: Yes, some variation of these things. I've always worked with children, starting to babysit when I was 11 or 12. After teaching English in Thailand to high schoolers, I knew teaching was something I was really good at. I've worked in bars/restaurants since I was 19, and I love the service industry. It's so fantastic to work with a company where it feels like a mini-family... I've been the teacher for all three of the owners' children now so it meshes two areas really well. And my dream in my late 20's/early 30's as a yoga practitioner was to actually do the trainings to teach and share the gift of yoga with others. So, I guess in a nutshell yes. I did, however, believe I'd be doing these things with a life partner by my side. That is for sure the most befuddling part for me.
WD: What altered your path?
JW: I don't think I would have created such a rich life having moved to Bend on my own without experiencing the most crushing heartbreak. In the midst of planning my wedding, our foundation crumbled, he married another and I left our life in Portland to start anew in Bend. It didn't come without it's major challenges, but overall it has been the MOST amazing journey. I've made best friends with myself... really getting to know myself through my yoga journey and connecting with amazing kindred spirits. I feel lucky to have experienced such heartbreak, not only because it allowed me to see that I can love so fiercely and deeply, but how I am willing and ready to do it again, this time with a greater understanding of who I am and what I desire.
WD: What is your biggest challenge professionally?
JW: I do love working within three very different work environments. I work at a small, private Montessori school (4 classrooms, 16 colleagues), a high-traffic yoga studio (33 teachers), and a popular tourist destination at Avid Cider. There tends to be a couple of common themes that can be the most challenging among all three and those are communication and income. Running a school is quite the undertaking, and overall it runs well, mostly because the teachers and aides are running it. Communication with administrative aspects can be challenging, especially in regards to young children and keeping all the families "in the loop". We are a well-oiled machine though. Communication can also be the downfall with the other two as well, but I know that's the nature of the beast when working in "people" businesses. The yoga studio runs very well, though I sometimes wish we had more communication among the teachers on a social level. I mean, I get to share space with some of THE COOLEST people who inspire SO many others, and I very rarely get to spend time actually with them. We are always passing by each other, on our way in or out of a class. So it's not poor communication, just a lack thereof. The cider company is growing like crazy and it's been amazing to be apart of that growth. And, with such growth, communication can get lost, especially for events. The best part though, is that we all identify where we can be stronger whenever we have an event and we implement new ideas the next time to come out better. And the other theme is definitely income. I've chosen occupations that feed my soul and my laughter bucket, but definitely not my wallet. I don't have any benefits with any of my jobs, so that is something that tends to be on my mind a lot. I feel so rich in life experiences, and I know that I will always chose to save months and months to take an epic trip or attend a music festival. And it is always, always there that there's never any extra. I know I could choose to save that money for months and months for whatever else, but my wanderlusting soul would be starved, and that is not the quality of life I desire.
WD: What is your favorite part of the day? Why?
JW: Depends on where I am of course! During a school day, I LOVE reading a chapter book to the children after lunch (my undergrad theatre degree really comes in handy here!), and then we have meditation. This is a time for all the young humans to feel what it feels like to be quiet and to be okay with that. I believe that if I can help them integrate this into their lives early, then they can access that later in life. I also allow myself and my assistants to do the same. So, at about 1:15 on a any given school day, you can walk by my classroom and see all 26 humans laying down, breathing and resting. If I'm at the studio teaching classes, I just LOVE watching the practitioners arise from their resting pose after going on an internal and physical journey. THEY ARE ALIVE. It's so beautiful to see all these different people on similar paths, and usually they are all there to better themselves in one way or another. Super duper cool. If I'm slinging cider at Avid or working on booking a band at the tap room, it's being witness to people making memories. I've noticed that a lot over the years of bartending... people come to celebrate a birthday or an engagement or just their lives (usually, that is... then there can be the people who are just annoying drunks ;). It's the same with bringing live music to people. I know listening to live music feeds my soul like nothing else, and to watch other people experience a *smidgen* of that is wicked awesome.
WD: Was there a defining moment that set you on your current path? What?
JW: I think my own sexual abuse as a young child made me a fierce warrior for love and protection of children. To know that they are safe, loved, cared for and thought of is something I didn't feel a lot of when I was young. So I think out of my pain, I just wanted to bring joy... and the ages I work with definitely have a lot of it!!!!
WD: What do you want more of in your life?
JW: My life feels so full of "more" already. This is the toughest question for me so far because I feel like I have so much... I have adventure, travel (40 countries and counting!), music, friendships, a beautiful-yet-complex family, work that fulfills me, movement, overall health. The question that seems to make most sense to me is "what do you want in your life?" And that's easy. I want a life partner to roll through life with and create a family together.
WD: Do you have a secret talent?
JW: I can talk to anybody and befriend them, even if it's just for an hour-long flight or serving them a drink. I've exchanged info with soooo many people who were once strangers, then with just a sweet exchange, we discover things in common or remind one another of what we want to strive for. That's how I made one of my best friends on this planet... simply by talking to her at a breakfast table at a hostel in the middle of Bolivia. We ended up traveling for two more months together through Bolivia Argentina, and now, 11 years later, we are closer than ever.
You can find Jenna here!