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A Journey of Rediscovery: Cadence Associate Finds Herself Again on a Cooking Vacation to Italy

Janet Ng on a solo trip to Italy

A Journey of Rediscovery: Cadence Associate Finds Herself Again on a Cooking Vacation to Italy

Janet Ng embraces adventure. The Cadence Bank associate loves traveling, big cities and new cultures. She’s learned to navigate unknown lands, make friends out of strangers and enjoy the spontaneity in life.

 

It wasn’t always this way.

 

But we’re getting ahead of the story.

 

Roads not taken, passions not pursued

 

Janet is a Senior Vice President in Trust Operations for Cadence Bank. Her department manages the accounting system, making sure that disbursements and receipts are posted when they should be, that funds go out and cash comes in. They work behind the scenes—or, as Janet puts it, “We’re the mechanics behind what the trust clients ultimately sees.” She’s worked here since 2005.

 

For much of the past couple of decades, Janet was a wife and mom, focused on her two daughters. She chauffeured her girls to dance, Girl Scouts, baseball, soccer, tennis, volleyball and band; volunteered with them at soup kitchens and for Habitat for Humanity; went to PTA meetings; helped with homework; and ran a busy household, even as she worked full time. She also found time to take cooking classes—not necessarily to broaden her kitchen skills, but simply because it was fun.

 

Over the years there were plenty of joys, but also some heartache.

 

“I really lost myself during that time,” Janet says. “Life was about my kids.”

 

A divorce and the resulting soul-searching were pivotal in Janet’s life. She realized she’d lost touch with the woman who was inside that wife and mom.

 

“I realized I didn’t know who I was,” she says. “What do I like? What don’t I like?” She was thinking about roads not taken, passions not pursued. She wanted to get out of her routine and out of her shell.

 

“I wanted to go out of the country,” Janet says. “But I didn’t know where to go.” She asked her siblings if they wanted to join her, but their schedules wouldn’t work out.

 

“I said forget it, I’m just going.”

 

Destination: Italy

 

A Journey of Rediscovery: Cadence Associate Finds Herself Again on a Cooking Vacation to Italy

In some of her previous cooking classes, people had talked about cooking vacations. It seemed the perfect thing to explore; she was familiar with the format and knew there would be some structure to the trip.

 

“I found one in Italy. I figured, I love Italian food, so why not?”

 

It was also an all-women’s adventure, and Janet realized she wouldn’t have to worry about feeling like the odd one out on a trip where couples might be traveling together. Besides, there were plenty of other things to fret about: She would be flying to Italy alone, navigating customs, finding her car service and tour guide, and spending two days alone in Rome before the cooking part of her vacation even began.

 

“To go out there and just do it on my own, it was a scary moment for me,” Janet remembers. Nothing was in English, and she didn’t know any Italian. But she was captivated by the countryside, the cathedrals, the food and the people, and soon realized that it didn’t matter that she was alone. “Then I took a train by myself from Rome to Naples, where the school picked me up.”

 

Janet spent the rest of the week-long vacation cooking in Positano with trips to Capri and along the Amalfi Coast. She brought back recipes and lifelong friends, and she still keeps in touch with four women who were on the trip. And by traveling alone, she learned much more than how to cook fresh fish or choose the best olive oil.

 

“I wasn’t sure how I would feel about traveling solo, but I loved it. You can go and do anything you want without being accountable to anyone else. I really grew from that,” she says.

 

“It turned out that I also loved being with a group of new people, listening to their experiences and being open with them in return,” Janet adds. “I’m naturally shy, but I found myself talking and socializing and opening up. That was a new experience for me.”

 

Embracing fear

 

A Journey of Rediscovery: Cadence Associate Finds Herself Again on a Cooking Vacation to Italy

The trip may have ended after just a few days, but its effects are evident still.

 

“I was going through a rough time, and this was an opportunity to regroup and rediscover myself. I came back refreshed and ready to go, with a new perspective on life.”

 

It was Janet’s first trip abroad, but there have been many since. France, Greece, Turkey, Australia, Costa Rica, Barcelona; she’s been to Italy three times now. This year she finally visited the Vatican. She cried at the Sistine Chapel.

 

And her experience has opened her up in other ways, too. She had a fear of swimming because she had almost drowned three times, but instead of letting that fear beat her, she took private lessons. She went skydiving with her younger daughter and wasn’t afraid. Janet’s days of not listening to herself, of not being in touch with herself, are over.

 

“People need to be open to new adventures and experience things,” she says. “These are life experiences.

 

“Find what sparks your interest. Don’t be afraid. You never know.”

 

Learn more about the people behind Cadence Bank

 

Cadence Bank is proud of our associates, and we love helping them celebrate the joys in life. Learn more about our associates and our mission, vision and values.

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