Morgan Yearout Shares Her Five Year Update

Morgan YearoutSo much has happened in the past five years for
Morgan Yearout. In fact, a lot has happened since her last article in 2020, which reflected on her return home to the United States. Morgan also mentioned that before diving deep into the last five years, it’s still insane for her to fathom that her hop across the pond was that long ago! She uses the moving abroad milestone to benchmark other events in her life and often thinks it was just three years ago… Time sure does fly when living out your dreams!

First, let’s rewind to 2016. What was the most significant thing that you learned?”

The most significant thing I learned in 2016 is we can’t believe all the lies we tell ourselves. In my case, the lie I kept telling myself as I prepared to quit my reliable and engaging corporate role to be a language assistant was: “I will never be gainfully employed doing what I love again.” 

Our brain likes to play tricks on us and magnify the risk tenfold. I’ve learned over time that the more we subject ourselves to “fear-inducing” things, the better equipped we are to challenge our thoughts because we have a personal history of success. I like to call it micro-dosing on my fears. It gets me out of my comfort zone and expands my realm of understanding in many facets of life. Had I trusted those thoughts, I wouldn’t be where I am today with five years of incredible experiences while being gainfully employed doing what I love!

What caused a shift in your thinking in 2017?”

The most significant thing that shifted my thinking is when I started to have grace for myself. I know it’s such a cliché, but honestly, I used to be incredibly critical of myself. I’m naturally a high achiever, and if I missed the mark on something, I’d dwell on it. However, if other people underperformed or let me down, I would rationalize and justify it in their favor. 

The time abroad gave me space from everything I knew to be “true.”  It enabled me to reevaluate my life and the key drivers behind why I was so hyper-critical of myself. I have learned to see the beauty in the messy and be joyful because I’m not ruminating on past transgressions. I now evaluate my snafus for learning with a much kinder lense and move on quickly. 

How will you best remember 2018?” 

I experienced the whole gamut of emotions, from the high highs to the grief-filled lows. My mom was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer again; a death sentence. I expedited my pop-up wedding in San Diego so that our immediate family could have a vacation together. Despite knowing that this year would be her last, our time was filled with love, and we made beautiful memories. Soon after, I was approved to work remotely. I spent 70% of my first year married back home in WA, tending to mumsie. 

My mom passed away in September, and the support I received from family and friends was immense. I was grateful to have my husband jump on a flight the next day to help me through the grief by being present. I’m not much of a talker when it comes to deep emotions. I mainly just need hugs, time in Mother Nature, and to run. There were many tears shed on the treadmill. 

In 2018, I also celebrated the pregnancy of a friend and my own. I drove cross-country; reuniting with friends and family along the way. I spread my mom’s ashes in Oahu, surrounded by immediate family, and planned her Celebration of Life. I scuba-dived for a second time since becoming Open Water certified. And, I subsequently broke the record for revenue highs at the hotel that I was revenue managing, landing us in the Top 10 of all Texas hotels. See, high highs, and low lows. Life is crazy beautiful, and I always look for the silver lining, especially since I’ve experienced quite a few devastations in my life. 

What was your major personal/professional development of 2019?” 

I grew a baby! That’s a big deal I hear. Professionally, I toyed with the idea of leaving a perfectly fine role to open a newly built Marriott hotel upon returning from FMLA. I reflected on my life with the current property and where I wanted to go long-term. It was a lot of deep contemplation because the team I worked with was incredible, true experts, and great humans! 

It would have been easy to rest on my laurels, but I really didn’t want to keep living the same day on repeat for the next 20-30 years, and I was up for a new challenge. I interviewed a couple of times for the Director of Revenue position at Hotel Drover, an Autograph Collection by Marriott, in the historic Fort Worth Stockyards, and officially started in February 2020.  

Where did 2020 take you?”

I officially started the role of Director of Revenue at Hotel Drover in February of 2020! In retrospect, it was divine timing since COVID-19 hit Texas hard in mid-March. The new hotel was still under construction with limited staff, and plenty of operational planning, budgeting, sales, and system configuration required to prepare for our 2021 Grand Opening. I remained gainfully employed throughout 2020, despite so much hardship in the hospitality industry. 

A central American pyramid

When COVID-19 first hit, our offices closed for a month, allowing me to work from home, an environment I thrive in. I even started taking a daily lunch break, something I rarely do when in an office. This time allowed me to walk my sweet little baby, listen to podcasts, and enjoy nature more frequently. I even found myself logging overtime because of the flexible work environment. It’s easy for me to get carried away on projects and lose track of time when working at home. I become so engrossed with projects that I lose all track of time as a result of interruptions being rare and there not being a looming commute. 

A photo of a swimming pond in Vallodolid, one of the highlights of Morgan's last five years.

We also had friends move in for a few months. We often drove to Houston to visit the in-laws. Constantly surrounding ourselves with company resulted in daily entertainment and a deeper sense of connection than in a typical year. It really makes me think that having multiple generations and/or quality roommates later in adult life isn’t such a bad idea. Another plus was to have extra hands to love our child.

How would you sum up how your life has gone so far in 2021?”

Revenge travel is definitely a thing these days, and I’ve been making up for “lost” time celebrating life and adventuring! I have been to four weddings this year (three domestic and one in Mexico). I jumped on a flight to visit a former language assistant in Arkansas, ventured to Washington to visit friends and family, and celebrated the hubby’s birthday with friends in Fort Lauderdale. Finally, I had a former language assistant and roommate from Madrid visit me, had a childhood best friend visit from WA, attended three baby showers, and welcomed children from dear friends and family into the world! On this personal level, I am so incredibly grateful to be healthy and participate in all these things!

Professionally, we successfully opened Hotel Drover in March 2021! It was no small feat attempting to open a hotel amidst the pandemic, but we did it, and we are honored to welcome many guests each and every day. I shared this labor of love with friends and family during the pre-opening celebration. These types of accomplishments can’t be done without a strong support system, and I am so thankful for those that rallied behind me because heavens knows the past year wasn’t all rainbows and butterflies. 

Taking the time to slow down and reflect deeply on the last five years has been insightful for Morgan. This interview allowed her to look in from the outside. Reviewing her thoughts at length for pivotal decision times and visualizing the “most” impactful scenes, as if in real-time, has been hard on occasion. However, Morgan still finds herself smiling with gratitude because she is so proud of the evolution of her mind and the strength of her heart over the past five years. The journey has been a wild one and Morgan will continue to dream big dreams and challenge her fears with proof of success from lived experiences. They say “proof is in the pudding” and Morgan couldn’t agree more. 

by Dreams Abroad

Returning to the United States: My Life Story Continues

By Morgan Yearout

WOW! I have so much to be grateful for since leaving Madrid three years ago. I joyfully reflect on my time abroad while also appreciating all that has transpired since returning to the motherland. Here is an inside look at the evolution of my life since returning to the United States.

What have you been up to since returning to the United States? 

“I married an incredible man. We did a pop-up marriage ceremony at the Sunset Cliffs Natural Park in San Diego, CA with our immediate family! I helped my Momma as she fought against Pancreatic Cancer and once she passed, spread her ashes in Oahu. I joined a bowling league for a season with my dad and had weekly daddy-daughter dates at the golf course. While in Washington, I hiked, boated, camped, and enjoyed wineries. I drove cross country three times; twice solo and the other time with my cousin.

During the trips, I was able to reconnect with loved ones and enjoyed pit stops in Arches National Park, Antelope Canyon, and Santa Fe’s Meow Wolf! I am working towards my private pilot’s license, but still have quite a way to go. I’ve also been able to celebrate family and friends’ life milestones of getting a house, engaged, married, and/or having a baby! Life has continued to be one big adventure since returning to the United States.

After returning the the United States, Morgan married her new husband at the Sunset Cliffs in San Diego.

With regards to my career, I worked two and a half years as a Regional Senior Director of Revenue for The Lumen and a stunning, independently owned luxury hotel in downtown Dallas called The Joule. I also had the privilege of overseeing the Reservations Team for the two properties. During my tenure, The Joule ranked Top 10 in RevPAR (a key metric in the hotel industry) for Texas hotels. Additionally, I developed my replacement prior to departing. I have since left and am privileged to be part of the opening team of Hotel Drover, a newly built Autograph Collection by Marriott hotel, in the heart of the Fort Worth Stockyards! We are set to open in late 2020 and could not be more excited to welcome guests from near and far!”

How has your life changed since returning to the United States from Spain? 

“The major change has been returning to a full-time career in Revenue Management that I love. I really enjoyed my year in Spain teaching English, traveling incessantly, and living with a host family, but there is something so pivotal about working in a field that you are passionate about day in and day out! Traveling has slowed a bit and I am coincidentally more rooted and enjoying “domestication,” too. I am at peace with where life is and enjoy the “mundane” of walks around the neighborhood, home projects of painting the walls, staining the pergola, building furniture, laying new flooring, eradicating fire ant mounds, playing yard games, etc.”

What is the biggest difference between your life in Madrid versus Dallas? 

“Prior to living in Madrid, I felt super uneasy, as if I was “settling” for the big-city rat race of a 9-5, despite loving the work I did. I had a nice house, nice car, a motorcycle, lovely relationships, etc. You know, checking all the boxes so to speak. Nonetheless, I felt as though there were personal interests that I would leave unexplored by committing to that lifestyle I also grew up with an immense amount of self-imposed pressure to excel at anything and everything that I did. So much so, that I withheld personal grace and had not fully invested time and energy into self-exploration.

Picture of a waterfall taken while Morgan was on a hike after returning to the United States 

Moving to Madrid allowed me to detach from the “supposed-to-dos” and be on an adventure of self-reflection while also immersing myself into other lifestyles. Madrid provided the space, time, and slower pace of life to wrestle with my cognitive dissonance; providing the freedom to dig deep into who I really am. Through the process of deciphering, breaking down, and rebuilding long-standing beliefs, I removed layers of shame and self-imposed expectations. It was incredibly hard, but also freeing. The self-work continues until this day.

Another key difference is that despite Madrid being more densely populated than Dallas, my lifestyle there felt much more relaxed. I really enjoyed the commutes via metro because I was able to read so much! In Dallas, I drive an hour each way for work, and it requires me to be hyper-focused in order to preserve my life. I listen to podcasts and audibles, but it is not the same as leisurely reading while riding the metro.”

What do you miss most about life in Madrid? 

“I alluded to it above, but I definitely miss the pace of life and the metro as a main form of transportation. I also really enjoyed all the green space amidst exciting eateries, shopping, art, pop-up markets, etc. Living in the Dallas area, a commute is required most of the time to experience those things since it is not very affordable to live in the city.”

A picture of lily pads in Seattle that Morgan took after returning to the United States

How did living in Spain change or enhance your professional life

“It helped me settle into myself and acknowledge that I am not a person to yield sub-par results. Instead, I’ve learned to be kind to myself and really tap into my energy levels. For example, when I am feeling super creative, I channel that towards creative, thoughtful work. When I am feeling low on energy, I do mundane and less critical tasks. When I feel super energized, I use that energy to crank through projects that I may have been avoiding and need to hone in on to bring to completion. Spain gave me a year to fully know myself, practice self-awareness, give me courage to maintain my identity in the workplace, and speak up when things are unjust.”

What does your professional life entail now? 

“I am a Director of Revenue for Hotel Drover in the historic Fort Worth Stockyards. The hotel is under construction and set to open in late 2020! We are currently selling rooms and event space for the first half of 2021 and will continue to roll in inventory as we draw nearer to next year. 

We are embarking on mass hiring in preparation for the hotel’s opening as well. I will aid in the interview and onboarding process and am excited to welcome many new faces to the team! It is incredible that Hotel Drover can provide job opportunities despite the world being wrought by dire times.”

What do you enjoy most about living in Dallas? 

“To me, it is not about where you live that makes a place enjoyable; it is the relationships you foster. I really enjoy the friendships inside and outside of the workplace that I have been able to cultivate over the years. It also helps that Dallas is unbearably cold to me for only two months out of the year, allowing me to gallivant outdoors often! “

Morgan walking across a bridge with her husband.

Have you traveled since returning to the United States? If so, where did you go and what did you do? 

“I have! I went on three cross-country drives, as I mentioned before, two of which were solo. During those trips I traversed through Washington, Oregon, Idaho, California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Oklahoma, and Texas. I have done several trips within Washington, Arkansas, Texas, and Oklahoma, as well. 

I went to Oahu and hiked, lounged on beautiful beaches, scuba dived, attended an immersive luau hosted by the Polynesian Cultural Center, and ate lots of delicious seafood. We ate and hiked our way around San Francisco with friends. While in San Diego for my wedding, we had a couple of fancy feasts, hiked, enjoyed beaches and visited the San Diego Zoo. I have spent time with family in and around Portland, Oregon. Hoyt Arboretum and the beach in Newport, Oregon are great! I ventured to Minneapolis for a work trip. Additionally, I went to Florida for a girl’s trip in Fort Lauderdale and Orlando for a friend’s wedding.”After returning to the United States, Morgan visited Antelope Canyon and took a picture of a natural skylight.

Morgan at Antelope Canyon after returning to the United States.

What does the year ahead hold for you? 

“I am focusing on opening Hotel Drover so we can welcome guests! Personally, I will continue to appreciate mother nature and the great outdoors. I remain active with running, working out, and meandering down trails. I enjoy cooking, engaging in beach activities, riding my motorcycle, as well as educating myself on racism, politics, and police reform. Social distancing is also important to me. We have new roommates and enjoy family time as a way to break up our routine.

We do have a trip planned for Aruba this year, but we shall see if that happens. One of my cousins is planning on getting married in Washington as well, so hopefully we can have some family bonding time up there come this Fall! Overall, this is a year of taking it as it comes and enjoying the slower pace of life. I have been embracing the lack of “control” over plans.”

Statue of a horse with mountains in the background

Morgan has not slowed down since returning to the United States three years ago. She is preoccupied with the opening of Hotel Drover in the historic Fort Worth Stockyards while leveraging her energy levels to complete a variety of tasks. Morgan has grown more accepting of things she cannot change and embraces the outdoors as the pandemic alters travel plans and traditional socialization activities. She is utilizing this year’s slower pace to educate, invest into her wellbeing, and complete home improvement projects.