Career advice from travelling? I know what your thinking but go with me on this for a minute there’s a message in here. Some people look at travel and the people who do it and think WOW aren’t they lucky. Their off seing the Eiffel Tower in Paris, floating around in the Dead Sea or just enjoying a beer somewhere famous and you can’t help but be jealous of them. It’s like they have the world at their finger tips and you can only sit there and dream in jealously about doing what they do. Sound familiar to anyone?
It should, it was once the very thoughts I had as I stared off at the nights sky or day dreamed out the window for years. When I was younger I wanted something different but lacked the will, dare the courage to go and take it for myself. It was in the too hard basket and so I did what was expected of me. Studied, got a job and pushed on with the status quo. It’s what we are expected to do, travel was but an after thought in my subconscious.
I mention all of this because I recently gave a career advice talk of sorts at my old high school to a bunch of students on my life from school time to now and it got me thinking. This isn’t a new epiphany however, I’ve gone on before about how my solo travel experience pushed my boundaries and grew me into a better happier person. It’s why I think it should be undertaken by all young people. Getting out there and experiencing the world is in my mind the BEST experience for tackling a career as well as life’s ups and downs.
As I re-told the story of my changing career to the students that day it filled me with a sense of joy, a sense of happiness, a sense of overwhelming satisfaction. I’d conquered the demons of my past and returned to where it all began. It was that very school where I’d grown up and been the shy kid, the kid petrified of standing at the front of a class of people and talking.
As the talk concluded the teachers asked if anybody had any questions. The usual were asked like what has been your favourite place, do you make much money, do you have a girlfriend, whats a blog and perhaps the question that stuck with me the most was what do you see yourself doing in the future.
I wasn’t sure how to answer that one. I’ve dreams of owning a house, having kids and a family just as much as I dream of travelling and seeing more and more of the world. It’s a difficult decision when you know you’ve got the world by the balls and can finally dictate to it and not the other way around.
Then I looked at the class and thought man I know what it was like being their age, how on earth can these kids answer that question when its taken me to my 30’s to start grasping the concept. How can they decide at 16, 17 or 18 what their career should be and how their life should play out. I thought I’d worked it all out when I finished in high school and now look where I am, having done a 180 degree turn on everything I’d planned out.
As I traverse the world yet again I am still thinking about my career. That day I learnt I like sharing my story and helping another kid like myself break the fear of pushing the boundaries and maybe just maybe take the world head on and succeed where they weren’t before. Maybe I’ll grow into really enjoying speaking and find a role there who knows, certainly not me.
Travel gave me the best career advice I’ve ever got, there is nothing to be afraid of so get out there and go after your hopes and dreams. Life is for living and whatever you decide to do with it just be sure you enjoy it. I picked travel as my birth into a better life, but it could be any number of starting points what will yours be?
It’s the old saying… We’re never to old to travel, hence never too old to learn!
I started full timing traveling aged 46 and had to wait til my kids had grown up to do it.
Thus it’s never too late to start ones life over and create new objectives and goals!
Anthea thats good advice right there. I took off travelling closer to my 30’s and am now headed in a completely new direction and so much happier for it.
Great post! I think that making the decisions that feel right in the moment, and facing our fears helps us to craft a much better future than worrying about what we’re going to be doing the future all the time.
Thanks Jessica. Fear is the biggest factor in stopping people from doing something new I think. We get so caught up in what we should do or what other people are doing that we forget about looking after ourselves first.
So true! I never understood the pressure of needing to know what you wanted to be when your only a kid with no life experience. Gosh I wanted to be a singer back in high school… I know why that never worked out! (I make a much better graphic designer)
Think its good to learn how to make goals from the start but does it need to be a career for certain?!
I think that’s the best advice that can ever be given. Life is too short to not take chances. Awesome that they got to speak to you. I bet they were inspired.
I really liked this piece, mainly because it reflects on a lot of things that I’ve been contemplating while traveling lately. I realized that I need to put so much more emphasis on finding a career that I love (be it in travel writing or unrelated) and less on how that career is going to make me a living. Life is so short, and sometimes we waste so much time trying to build ourselves a future that we miss out on the present.
Hi Ellen, I completely agree that life is to short. The more I travel and explore the world the more I want to live life on my terms.
Some good advice. I have been wanting to do a travel blog for some time but just don’t know where to start. Plenty of friends and family have said I should as I am always giving tips and advice to people travelling and have done a couple of itineraries for friends who travelled through europe and they loved it. I am not the most tech-savvy bloke in the world. Might have to read up on it a bit more. Love your website and what you have done with it. I also agree that there is too much expectation on kids to find careers and we should focus on our kids gaining ‘life skills’ just as much as gaining knowledge. Cheers, Phil
Hi Phil, I completely agree with the life skills. Wish I’d set off and travelled before I studied or got a job in the real world. Oh and if you do decide to start a blog look me up I provide a service to do just that.
I completely understand where you’re coming from with this.
One of the biggest factors that prevent young adults from pursuing their dream life is a fear of losing what’s comfortable.
Traveling gets us out of the habit of settling into a comfort zone for too long.
And I’ve noticed that frequent travelers are always a lot more confident, lively, personable and outgoing. I’m not sure if the characteristics lead people to travel. Or if travel inspires people to live boldly.
I’m betting on the latter.
Great article. Thanks for sharing 🙂
That joy of satisfaction and happiness is what I always try to keep in mind whenever I’m going through a rough patch with traveling. Knowing that I’ll just laugh when I look back on my experience, makes the difficult times easier to handle.
Great message, man. I really had no idea what I wanted to do after high school. I didn’t want to restrict myself so I floundered around for a while. Now, I’m embracing my adventurous spirit and teaching in Korea for a year. Next year…who knows. I suspect I’ll be somewhere else enjoying and exploring a new country and culture. Cheers!
Interesting. I’m turning 27 a few months from now and I’m still not sure what I want other than travelling. It’s nice to know that I’m not alone, I guess this is normal for those in their late 20’s. Haha.
I’m 47 and have only began breaking the boundaries of my thinking and society since I was 35 – I am lucky enough to be experiencing a second go at life and I think sometimes it is so hard to decide on one thing and have to stick to it forever!
Hopefully through travel I have shown my kids there is something different than the traditional. it seems to have worked as my Son is a Professional Freerunner and my daughter is working and saving to go travelling herself and become a PADI dive professional eventually!
If I may ask, what line of work are you currently in? Are you still in London?
And were you working career related jobs overseas or pubs/cafes etc, whatever you needed to pay the bills? Or a mix of both?
Hi Hamish, I’m afraid I’ve had to leave London as my visa expired. While living there I worked in a career job for the 2 years I was there as it was just better money and gave me a bit more flexibility. I think if you can get work like that it will allow for a bit more money in your pocket but if you are there to come and go a pub/cafe will be far easy to get.
I have been pondering the same things for a while now… I am 18 and started traveling at the beginning of this year because I didn’t know what I wanted to study. I have been traveling for a mere 2 months now, but I am still no closer to knowing what I want out of life, and how I want to spend it. I am just realising everyday how short life is, and that I need to do something meaningful, but I don’t know what that is! You are so fortunate that your life allows you to travel full time, and I don’t welcome the conclusion of this year, because for me it means that I will have to enrol in a university and study a degree for a few years. I started blogging as a way to share my travels with loved ones back home, and also just any good tips with fellow travellers, that I would have liked to know beforehand, but I am now being exposed to the world of travel blogging, where people do it for a living. I don’t think that I will be one of the lucky ones that make it, but it’s enjoyable to read about others blessed enough to do it nonetheless.
Thanks for your ever interesting posts!
I have just come across your website and read this partiular article… I’m so glad I’m not the only one who feels like this. Since coming home from travelling I have been stressing out about what career I want. I too followed the status quo, went to college, got a degree then a boring office job. I decided I wanted more from life so did what you did but the other way around, London – Australia! Travelling really is the best life experience and I just wanted to say your blog has made me smile today…
P.s I decided to give up worrying about a career at the moment and move to NZ instead for a while 🙂
Hi Lucy, glad to see my post put a smile on your face. Travelling is without a doubt the best life experience you can get. Making new friends, speaking different languages, trying new things. Its an infections way to live and honestly can’t recommend it enough.
When its time to come home though it doesn’t need to be all over either. I wrote a post on being an expat at home a little while ago now that I’m home in Australia and find I look at home a lot differently now. The post is here: http://www.theaussienomad.com/travel-thoughts/becoming-an-expat-in-my-own-country/
I’m sure being a UK girl there are plenty of places you can enjoy just like I did while I was there. You just need to look at it as if you were still in Australia or New Zealand now 🙂