A Tale of A Backpacker In A Suit

In Announcements, Blog, Storytelling, Travel Tips by Kay6 Comments

One of the things I’ve failed to own up to yet on my blog is that I’ve accepted a job with a global consulting firm, to begin working next fall. Yeah, that means I’ll be working a job. In an office. With coworkers and coffee and pressed shirts an abundance of office supplies.

Cue the image of a backpacker in a suit. Yeah, not so pretty.


Yeah…this in business attire might not turn out so well…

Some travelers might shame me for joining the “corporate world,” while others might nod and look at me sympathetically, thinking of the time when they, too, worked in the chaos of American business. Some might even think I’m selling out, subtly suggesting that if I really wanted to travel, then I’d quit everything to do it. That’s easier said than done with thousands of dollars in student debt and a resume that needs some work.

What might surprise you, though, is that I actually really wanted this job.

Am I betraying all things travel by willingly accepting a sit-down career? Is my backpacker self ready to trade her 55 L pack for a sleek rolling carry-on?

No, I reply to these questions quite firmly, no to both.

I carefully chose a career that not only would give me a variety of projects, but would also enable me to explore different areas of the country and possibly even the world. I’ll get to see our planet from the eyes of a businessperson, underneath the folds of a carefully dry-cleaned blazer. It’s another perspective I want to add to my repertoire, and one I think will help me understand what the adult world is really like. This career might not be forever. But, for now, it’s what’s right for me and my love of learning new things. Plus, without working, how do you think I could have saved up all that money for my trips this year?

Does this mean the blog will stop? Of course not! As many of you may know, I am in love with travel writing. It’s been my passion for a few years now and it’s not something I’ll just let go because my life circumstances have changed. Actually, I’m excited to cultivate a new audience of working people, just like me, who have to be resourceful and fit meaningful travel into shorter amounts of time. If you think about it, it’s not much different than what I was doing in college, except in my new job I’ll technically be traveling every week to various projects around the country. I want to show my readers that it’s possible to work and travel – that it can be difficult, but worth the effort. 

Maybe it won’t last forever. Maybe I’ll get tired of the business world and move on to something else. But for right now, this career seems absolutely fascinating, and it will hopefully be the perfect job for someone who harnesses energy from travel and gathers inspiration from others. I’ll get to help solve problems in the world and see what it’s like to interact with a diverse group of people. Plus, I have a savings to build for the wild rides to come in the future.

A job that lets me travel AND pays me? Well, I guess that sounds like a pretty good deal.

Additionally, I’m hoping to travel as much as I can before I begin my new job in Houston in the fall. I’ve already planned an exciting trip to Southeast Asia for the next three months that will be extremely exciting, and I have a few other journeys in the works after that. The Kay Days will certainly turn over a new leaf, but it won’t be the end. 


The sun isn’t setting on The Kay Days – it’s just getting ready to rise on a new day.

If you’re skeptical, I’m excited to prove to you that traveling the world doesn’t require you to quit your job and live off your savings (although, case in point, that’s really cool too!). In my blogging career, I’ve already tried to serve as a living example that traveling in college is not only possible, but completely affordable and encouraged. I strive to show that travel resources are available to people who work hard, take chances, and show their passion. During my career as a travel writer, I have met so many other inspiring people who fit travel into their lives, either as a full-time career, as a part-time gig, or somewhere in between. Which is why I believe, in all its corporate glory, I can make this work.

Throughout the days of hard work and diligence, I’ve learned that I truly belong in the world as a traveler. But the word traveler is rather ill-defined. Doesn’t it mean one who travels? No matter the reason? Even though some might think of this as a major breaking point, or maybe even a downward slope, I have extremely high hopes for the future of this blog and my travels in general. Trust me, I’ll be using my accrued airline miles and hotel points as often as I can to plan some crazy trips, and I really can’t wait to share them with you here.

So, folks, next time you see some crazy, small Filipino girl at the airport singing songs to herself in Icelandic, wearing a giant backpack with a blazer and skirt underneath, come say hi. I won’t bite! 🙂

Do you think I’m selling out? Have you faced a similar situation? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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  1. I personally don’t believe in entering the corporate world and slaving away at a job. But I think a lot of people do it immediately after school because they think they are supposed to without even exploring their other options to live they life they want. So I applaud you for deciding to know your options and choose the life that suits you. A lot of those “true travelers” believe that you need to cut all those ties and just go out there and do it. They would consider this selling out. These travelers reject this idea of working in the corporate world because its what society is forcing them to do and they need to break those ties and do something completely different. But the difference is that you know traveling and you understand, so pick what works for you, out of pleasure and excitement instead of out of commitment and obligation.
    You do you. Work and travel, and just don’t let go of that adventurous spirit.

    1. Author

      Thanks for your comment, Alexis! I agree that a lot of people think they are obligated to work in a job they don’t like after graduation – that’s definitely not the case here though. One day I’d love to do the 100% travel thing, but I definitely need to save up money and pay off my hefty student loans first. Luckily, I’ll still get to see new places, travel, and explore new perspectives in the process, so I can’t complain 🙂

  2. I don’t believe that you’re signing up for a job that YOU are excited to do and want to do, that’s not selling out! Selling out would be taking a job to make somebody else happy. And if you plan on taking that job and continuing to travel and blog about it, that’s even better. Congrats! Go out there and do what you love to do 🙂

  3. I too need to pay off a large amount of student loan debt (which I’ve been intentionally ignoring for several years now) so am heading back into the working world. I loved my job before I went travelling, and now that I have taken some time out from it, I still have passion for the field and have had the chance to re-evaluate the way that I approach it. Hopefully now I’m in a good space to find a more global way of working and to work towards that goal – which I would never known I had if I hadn’t gone.

    And that was all just a long way of saying I don’t think you’re selling out 🙂

  4. Congrats on your new job! You are definitely not selling out. Full-time RTW travel isn’t for everyone. It’s okay to want to have a stable job and travel the world. It’s fantastic that you found a job that allows you travel! Plus, there’s plenty of people who manage to get some pretty impressive travel down on weekends and vacation days!

  5. Sustaining gainful employment on a regular schedule is not “selling out” — there are many fulfilling and worthy careers and places of employment out there, that do good and can be good for you . Definitely not one size fits all, and practically speaking, hard for anyone unless they are independently wealthy to sustain a lifetime of travel without some foundation to sustain in retirement and security … or to support a family at some point. Good for you for being open to possibilities — that’s what life is about.

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