It’s that time of year again, the anniversary of the moment when my old, more traditional 9-5 job and I parted ways and I forever left the corporate world. Four years sounds like a really long time, and it sort of is – at least to be doing whatever it is that I do for a living. In May of every year I like to take a moment, step back and ponder what it’s been like shaking off the restraints of a career I hated and instead inventing a new career in what is a strange form of micro-entrepreneurship. For those of you who aren’t fully aware of my backstory, you should read but to recap in just a couple of sentences it’s a simple story really. I was a DC lobbyist for about 12 years, a career I never intended to go into and one that I didn’t particularly like. But it paid the bills, provided me with healthcare and along with my partner’s job, we had (and have) a nice little suburban existence. It’s not the suburban aspect that I hated, it was the career. I’ve lost many close members of my family in the last few years and that, almost more than anything else, has taught me how very important it is to devote your life to something that you enjoy and something about which you are passionate. Passion is key and it can be anything, from being a doctor to a lumberjack to a travel blogger, what the career is doesn’t matter, all that matters is that you are totally and absolutely passionate about it.
Life is short and we only have a brief time on this planet and sometimes it’s important to be selfish. But it’s not all that selfish to pursue a career you love. If you do something into which you can put your entire heart and soul, then the rewards will be amazing. You will be a happy person, necessarily infecting all of those around you with this positive outlook on life. Not only that, but you’ll do your job well, contributing to the world in the process. However, if you’re not doing something you love, something that feels like a part of who you are at your core, then those effects can be just as dramatic. This unhappiness will take root deep inside and spread to all aspects of your life. Negativity will take hold and that, more than anything else, will dictate the course of your life. Seems like an easy choice, doesn’t it? Well, yes and no.
The fact is, that if you’re not already pursuing whatever it is you are passionate about, it can be very difficult to make that shift. I knew for a long time that I didn’t like my career, but I felt trapped. I couldn’t figure out what else to do, what else to pursue that would appease my soul and finally make me happy. I had a good salary and a good life and I felt guilty, very guilty, for questioning that. Others were also dependent on me, and I couldn’t bear the thought of letting them down. I felt like I was on a predetermined track, one I could never veer off from. Then the unlikely happened, I got a call from my old boss that he felt as if I had a new interest in my life, something I should be doing instead. My blog had been around for a couple of years at that time and was quickly becoming an all-consuming project. We agreed that I needed to leave my job, but the problem was I couldn’t figure out how to turn what I enjoyed – my blog – into an actual career that would pay be money.
As it turns out, I learned another lesson in the process of trying to give birth to a career where none had before existed. I learned that if you do something you love, something about which you are entirely passionate about, then everything else will follow. Money and opportunities will follow because of one simple reason. You love what you do so much, that no other result is possible. You’ll find a way to make it work, because ultimately you have no choice. You have to pursue this all-consuming passion otherwise you would wither up and waste away.
That’s what this blog and my weird new career is all about. I don’t do it for the ancillary benefits, I do it because travel and learning about the world around me is what I love more than anything else. I’ve always felt that way, from as young as I can remember I always tried to learn about new cultures and people and was frustrated that I couldn’t just go ahead and visit every country already. It’s what defines me as a person, I just lost sight of that for a few years. My career and leaving my job wasn’t a new idea, it was a very old idea, one that I had sadly forgotten about for a while. The good news for me is that I realized my mistake early enough in my life that I could go ahead and make the changes I needed it and as a result, I have never, ever been happier.
It’s this outlook on life that also has made this career work for me personally. I see a lot of younger folks start a blog not because it’s the driving force in their lives, but because they see it as a way of funding their travels. That’s not right and that’s not what this should all be about. It’s not about posting pictures of yourself in a bikini on Instagram or following the latest social media craze, it’s about sharing part of your soul with the world and seeing what’s returned in kind. It’s about needing your blog as a critical element of who you are because you simply couldn’t exist any other way. That’s what LandLopers has become for me and it has allowed me to do what I love best. Explore, learn and grow as a person. I’ve lost my fear of the unknown and in its place is a positive outlook on the world I could never have imagined just a few, short years ago.
As always, thank you all for supporting me through all of the many trials and tribulations of my life. This hasn’t been an easy road, but it’s been the most gratifying of my life. I have all of you to thank for that and it’s a debt I’ll never be able to repay.