Why I Wandered Down the (Rough) Road Less Traveled

My husband and I love long road trips. We so enjoy the changing scenery and the ample time to talk or just listen to podcasts. It’s concentrated time together with a chance for adventure - our winning combination. We even took a road trip as our honeymoon. Driving from Arkansas to Seattle and back, we made a giant circle around the western half of the US.

At the time we were so excited to have just gotten married, of course, but were also so tired and worn out from our jobs. We worked for a company that had taken so much breath out of us and left us in a depressed state. Where when we got home from our long, stressful days, we wanted to do nothing but space out in front of the TV. But as we pulled out of our driveway the morning after our wedding, the air became clearer.

With every mile, we felt hope in the reminder that where we were is not where we have to stay.

This lead to our “honeymoon baby”. Just to get our minds out of the rut we had been in to survive, we began to list out our dreams. In doing so, we realized one of our biggest dreams was that we wanted to work together. My husband is an audio engineer, and I had recently graduated with degrees in Intercultural Studies (community development) and Cinema. The more we talked, the more we discovered it was totally possible to make this happen. So, the dream of our husband and wife production team settled into my body and began to grow and take life.

We started out small, asking friends and family if we could film things for them. I also reached out to a community craft fair, asking if they needed any highlight coverage. In this beginning stage, I had an idea of a name and a logo of what our dream could become. So, we got to work building what became Truebadours, our now five-year old. Yes, I still worked my day job. But our nights and weekends were spent bringing this dream to life.


This company has been the rollercoaster that I wasn’t prepared for, and I’m so lucky for it. My husband lost his job three months after we got married, but that same day my meeting with the craft show became our first major exposure. We’ve had tech glitches one day, and videos go viral another. At times I will feel so confident in my calling, then turn around to get caught up in my inadequacies and doubts.

For the entirety of our business, I’ve still been working my day job - essentially having two full time positions. I’ve been in awe of the opportunities I’ve had to meet the people through my camera. But I’ve also cried in my office because I am just. so. tired. Yet  every second has been worth it. As I’m looking to make Truebadours my only full time job this year, I have seen each moment so clearly as a reminder to keep pursuing what I was called to nurture and take care of on this earth.

Moments when I begin to doubt if it will ever become financially feasible to just do my dream, and an inquiry pops in my mailbox right after.  When I’m about to give up because I’m tired of working my nights and weekends away, and a bride messages me that she’s crying, feeling all of her wedding day emotions while watching her video.

These are the moments you know that your purpose is protected by something so much bigger than you, and all you have to do is just show up.


If you know what you are called to do, it’s worth pursuing with everything you can. Don’t hold back just because you have a full-time gig. Don’t hide it because you’re afraid of others thinking you’re taking an impractical leap. Be unapologetic in your prioritization of your own time. Use your day-job PTO as time to create something. Start re-framing yourself as who you really are outside of the title you have right now. Take in the excitement of those new clients or heartfelt reviews. This is the way your calling nurtures you as you’re nurturing it.

You are not the first nor the last person with a dream - but be one of the few willing to put in the work to pursue it. Rest, celebration, and a deep, deep peace of doing what you were born to do await you. Go for it.    

Photos by: Eileen Roche


Jessica Whalen

Founder at Truebadours

Jess is a videographer based out of Arkansas, but she and her husband are up for adventures anywhere. Her goal with her company is to tell and celebrate the stories of every day people and the lives they create. At home, she’s usually hanging out with her husband and dogs, Ron and Leslie.