For years, Colleen Preston has dedicated her life to the health of her clients as a personal trainer.
The Tri-Cities resident has worked non-stop, building her home-based business, Elevated Fitness in Coquitlam, into a success, all while being a single both mom. "We Though Preston preaches health and wellness to her clients, she admits she hasn't always followed her own advice.
However, a near-death experience 18 months ago changed all that.
For six months, Preston thought she would never be able to work out again and suffered from the effects of a terrible concussion.
She called it "six months of hell."
But the incident also brought some perspective to the workaholic.
And it led the business owner to make a change in her life some could only dream of doing.
"It really made me think, am I just acquiring things for my kids, other people?" she asked.
"What am I doing for me?" So Preston and her fiancé Christian Tiesters started making major plans to leave it all behind for a while.
This month, the couple embarked on a year-long trip around parts of the world.
To make the trip a reality, the couple started getting rid of stuff - lots of stuff.
It was their cars, motorcycles and toys.
At one point the pair owned two businesses, two homes and 16 insured vehicles.
Preston estimated the two sold close to $250,000 worth of goods.
"The more stuff you have, the more it owns you," she told The NOW.
Preston sees the purge of goods as a way of simplifying and cleaning her life.
"It's almost freeing in a way," she said.
While relieved of the burden of some of her belongings for the trip, it doesn't mean Preston will leave her business far behind.
The intention is to turn the trip into a fitness trek.
The couple plan to work out with the locals during various stops along the way, and record their experience for a blog documenting how people keep fit in other countries.
Preston has aptly titled the video series "Working Out the Locals."
"We both love fitness - why don't we backpack and exercise the whole way and tell people about it?" she said.
"Let's just show everybody you can live on next to nothing, you can eat well and you can be healthy."
The trek begins with an RV trip through Canada and the East Coast of the U.S. for the first month.
The couple will park their RV in Florida and backpack the rest of the way through the Bahamas, Africa and parts of Europe, ending in France.
The couple also expects to tie the knot on New Year's Eve.
While Preston is on her journey, a group of trainers will keep her business running.
She also intends to do live workouts through Skype whenever she can get the chance to stay in touch.
Preston believes she'll actually have more time to do personal training on the trip, since she won't be burdened by running the day-to-day operations of the business.
When the trek is complete and she returns home to regular life, the 46-year-old intends to finally take the advice she so often espouses to her clients.
Preston hopes to find balance in her life and not return to the old habits of working 24/7.
"We need quality of life," she said.
. To follow Preston on her trek, go to www.elevatedfitness.net.