What am I Doing With My Life? How Travel Made me a Writer
What am I doing with my life? Ever asked yourself this question? You’re not the only one.In this weekly series, real people share how travel helped them answer this question for themselves. To kick off the series, I will share my personal experience with answering this terrifying, mystifying question.
This is how travel helped me figure out what to do with my life.
What I Was Doing With my Life Before Travel
I had interests in everything. Out of all my passions and hobbies, I didn’t like any of them enough to take seriously.
My college career was a total flop. I changed my major three times, settled on political science because it didn’t involve math, and got a degree after five years.
Becoming a lawyer was what I settled on. But, I ditched the LSAT to take a road trip to the Bonnaroo music festival. I guess I wasn’t that serious about it after all.
I couldn’t figure out what to do with my life. I knew that I had potential and ambition, but I couldn’t really focus it in on anything. And, I knew that I needed to find a way to make money (I was tired of being broke.)
Another thing I knew, was that I loved to travel. I had been doing it all throughout college; taking little trips here and there.
Once I was free from college, I took a job waitressing, and saved up to take more trips. It wasn’t bad really, but my life, and career were pretty stagnant.
Eventually, I realized that I need to make a drastic change.
My Answer to What am I Doing With Life?
Since travel was the one thing I knew I loved, I decided to pursue it in a big way. I had read about teaching English as a foreign language, and it seemed like the perfect solution.
I was always great at English, I could live abroad and travel often, and I would be earning money so that I could pay my student loans.
While I had no experience teaching, wasn’t too fond of children, and had no idea where to start, I fell in love with the idea.
Like a true sign from the universe, I stumbled upon a Groupon for an online, TESOL (teaching English as a second language) certification. I asked my Dad to buy it for me as a birthday gift, and I was on my way.
It took me two months to get through the course, working on it both before and after work. But, once I finished, I received my certificate and started applying for jobs via their job board, right away.
When I landed a teaching job in China, I knew that the change I needed was finally here.
What am I Doing With my Life After Travel?
My decision to teach English in China was one of the best ones I’ve ever made. The experience was life changing (that’s for another story) but by the end of it, I realized that teaching was not for me.
What happened after I left the school is what really helped me figure out where my life was headed.
I continued to travel throughout Asia and New Zealand for the next two years. Although I picked up a few ESL gigs here and there, it was only as a means to an end.
And, once I got REALLY tired of teaching, I realized that I need a new way to make money. Since I have always loved writing, I decided to pursue freelancing so that I could write and earn money while I traveled.
I just started writing one day, and I never looked back. I submitted articles to large, online publications. I joined freelancing platforms and began selling my skills. I even met up with a community of bloggers, and started my own website.
It was unclear where it was all leading, but I was having fun, earning a bit of money, and picking up more skills than I realized.
In fact, once I came home from traveling, I realized that I had a resume that could actually get me a job as a content writer.
Since then, I’ve had writing internships, promising freelance clients, and a salaried job using the skills I learned while traveling.
Since landing my most recent job, I realized that I can learn to be really good at what I do. Now, I plan on learning more about digital marketing, improving my writing, and building websites that help and inspire others.
As I collect and refine my new skills, the future is looking even brighter.
And, I have travel to thank because without that initial trip to China, who knows where I would be now.
What about you? Has travel helped you figure out what to do with your life? Please let me know in the comments.
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