In Dream Chaser Interviews

To live abroad and write, ahhh…isn’t that the dream? Well, for Catherine Doyle, it is! I met Catherine a few weeks ago and was so totally inspired by her transfromation from “Procurement Professional” to “Woman Who’s Living Her Dream,” that I just had to share her story with you. To learn about Cath’s journey from the corporate world to the Italian countryside, read on…

Q: Tell us about yourself. What’s your dream and how are you working towards it?
CD: My name is Catherine Doyle. I am Australian. Until 2 months ago, I was an international business woman with a Post Graduate Diploma in Management who had spent almost 10 years based in Singapore and Switzerland. In my most recent role of Global Talent Development Manager for a major cement manufacturing company, I would travel the world for up to half a year developing and training Procurement professionals. It was completely fulfilling work but exhausting and something that I could only cope with for 4 years. Although I loved it, when I reached 40 I started to wonder if paid employment was all there was in life. More recently, my partner started to wonder along the same lines. After much fretting about the ‘right time’ to do something drastic, we resigned from our global roles to take 12 months off on a sabbatical. Although the decision was traumatic and our current life challenging, we seem to be having the time of our lives!

It’s a funny thing when you give up paid employment. You struggle to define yourself. I always used to be clear on what I was. I was not just ‘Catherine’; I was a ‘Procurement Professional’. Now I have to find out who ‘Catherine’ is…

To help me to do this, my partner and I purchased a 200 year-old stone house in Italy which requires a lot of renovation. This is where we will spend our sabbatical. This is where we now call home.

Also, I’ve always had a love of words and have written since I was a child. I remember keeping school diaries for years because I’d collected quotes and poems in them. In fact, the only things I ever kept from my school days were from my English subjects. In my sabbatical year, I wanted to rediscover my love of writing and see where it could take me. So I am doing a Masters in Creative Writing and I am writing as much as I can. Generally, I write about our experiences in Italy. My daily writings, which are largely tongue-in-cheek humorous, can be found on my blog, Cath’s Cache.

Q: Describe a gray time in your life. How did it stand between you and your dreams? How did you overcome it?
CD: Wow, that’s a hard one. I tend to be a pessimist so ‘gray’ is fairly normal to me. I don’t really have ‘big gray’ times. But I’ll try…

Probably the ‘biggest gray’ time occurred when I was 17 and just about to move into Year 12. My father had a huge job opportunity which meant a transfer for the family from big city Melbourne to small country town Queensland. I was a hugely shy girl who completely lacked confidence. I went to a private girl’s college in Melbourne and my life had been stable for all of my secondary school years. In the small country town, the only secondary school was a terribly rough co-ed school. This was a very traumatic time for me and I don’t think I actually did anything to overcome it. I sunk to the depths of hopelessness and it took my parents kidding to me every day for me to get out of bed in the morning. They promised that I could leave school at the first holiday break if I hadn’t settled by then. Of course, they knew I would settle before the first holiday break, so I managed to get through the year.

But it did put me off another major change in my life. Before this experience, I had dreamed of going to university and studying literature (my love of writing again!). After this experience, I couldn’t face the necessary move to another town where the closest university was, so I took a clerical job at a local industrial site. Although my imagined career was put on hold, I maintain to this day that this whole experience was character building. I am now a lot more flexible and confident than I was back then. And somehow my little local job gave me a brilliant start to an incredible career.

Q: What fears have you faced as you chase your dreams? 
CD: Oh, where do I start!? I mentioned earlier that I am a pessimist. Well, it’s not hard finding fears when you’re a pessimist! Before my partner and I made the decision to leave work, I went through insecurity hell. What if I never get another job as good as this one? What if we get sick and can’t afford treatment? What if we run out of money? Funnily enough, none of these questions could ever really be worked through; they were figments of my imagination. But they all lifted off my shoulders the instant I resigned. It seemed that once I’d done the ‘dirty deed’ I simply had to get on with it. I realized then that it was really a leap of faith. Whether or not it turns out to be a foolish leap is yet to be seen…but I feel at the moment that this is largely irrelevant. All I know now is that I’m having a wonderful experience and this time is so valuable to me that I am prepared to live with the consequences of this freedom.

Q: What inspires you to keep pushing forward when the going gets tough?
CD: Maturity and wisdom. I think when you get to mid-life you start to sense time running out. You start to question if this is all there is and you get a certain desperation to do things that you’ve always put off. You also realize that things can and do get tough but you have a wisdom that says ‘there is no other option than to push forward and make or mold your life’. Plus you have the mature confidence to do things that you may not have considered before. This keeps me going. This sense of time and life inspires me. Of course, I envy younger people who get to this point earlier than I did (e.g. Erika)!

Q: If you could give one piece of advice to someone else who is struggling to move beyond the gray and follow a dream, what would it be?
CD: Believe in yourself. Take a risk. Take a leap of faith. Tell yourself every day that you don’t want to be lying on your deathbed and having regrets…

To read more about Catherine and her adventures abroad, visit her blog, Cath’s Cache at

Are you actively pursuing or living a dream? If so, I’d love to hear from you! Please e-mail me at: Erika (dot) Liodice (at sign) hotmail (dot) com. 

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  • ritaroberts

    Hi Erika, I love this blog about Catherine .As you know I can relate to her having to settle in another country. But her views are mine. My motto has always been GO FOR IT. and pursue your dreams. I am enjoying reading other dreamchaser stories. Great stories Erika.

    • Erika Liodice

      Hi Rita,
      Great to hear from you! I’m so glad to hear that you’re enjoying the stories of fellow dream chasers. It probably goes without saying, but I love them too. The bravery of people who are willing to pursue their dreams never ceases to amaze and inspire me.


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