Overcoming naysayers and self-doubt, Heather Geoghegan has built a life that balances her love of travel with her chosen career.


Heather Geoghegan in the streets of Pompeii

Heather Geoghegan in the streets of Pompeii

Heather Geoghegan’s heart is guided by an inner compass. In the last decade, her love of travel has led her to more than 30 countries, including all of southeast Asia, Australia, New Zealand, most of Europe, Costa Rica, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the list goes on. She spends half of each year seeing the world, and always returns to the Outer Banks, her home base of the 25 years, where she works as an acupuncturist and massage therapist.

Ever since she was a kid, Geoghegan had a strong desire to travel the world. But it took a while to get started.

“I spent a lot of my life trying to please and do what I thought I was supposed to do,” she says. “When I was a junior in college I told my mom I wanted to quit school and travel Spain by motorcycle and she emphatically said no and I’m glad she did. I finished my undergrad and got caught up in life. In 2007 I started to listen to my inner voice that kept saying ‘go travel.’  So I did and haven’t stopped.”

Facing fears was a part of making it happen. “There were moments when I doubted I could live a lifestyle of work and travel,” she says, “but over the years I’ve realized it’s possible and I’m going to live my life living in the moment, not in fear of what may or may not happen.”

Geoghegan does the majority of her traveling alone. Often she will meet up with friends and dear ones in far-flung places around the planet, but going solo never stops her from doing what she wants to do. She says she’s never been afraid when traveling alone, but she admits to a few moments in which fear and doubt came in and she questioned what she was doing.

Sunset temples in Myanmar. Photo by Heather Geoghegan

Sunset temples in Myanmar. Photo by Heather Geoghegan

Her journeys are physical, and bodywork has become an integral part of her experience. When biking through New Zealand with four friends on faulty equipment, sometimes riding 40 to 50 kilometers a day, she mandated nightly Shiatsu stretches and Thai massage, teaching her friends so they could work on each other. “If we hadn’t done that, I wouldn’t have made it.” she says, “It was one of my best trips because I had to be aware … the whole time on a bike … I had to use all of my senses.”

When traveling Heather explores the work of other healers, massage therapists, acupuncturists, whatever is offered, taking in how other people work around the world, receiving so she can continue to give. She’s not traveling to work, but inevitably she encounters people who are injured or hurt and offers help if they need it. All of this adds to her own body of knowledge and greater understanding of how the human body works and heals, and each time she returns to the Outer Banks her senses are sharpened from her travels.

Woman cultivating seaweed in Zanzibar, Tanzania

Woman cultivating seaweed in Zanzibar, Tanzania. Photo by Heather Geoghegan

Geoghegan says she travels “to be humbled.” She says she is constantly humbled by what she sees and is reminded over and over again that “everything we have we don’t really need.”

“There’s a lot more to the world than what we have right here,” she says.

Returning home, her pack may be light, but a greater body of knowledge is stored deep within her mind, heart, soul and cells.

And she has sage advice for women who are hesitating on fulfilling a dream: “Don’t let doubt, fear or someone else’s voice stop you from following what your heart and soul desire. Always remember that you are stronger than you know.”

Geoghegan in Goa, India

Geoghegan in Goa, India

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