Any current college student you talk to can attest to the pressures surrounding getting a “stable” or “practical” job. It makes sense, right? You get a college education to start a career, to sustain yourself and to eventually excel in your field of interest. There are bills to pay, loans to pay off, and obligations to honor.
On the other hand, people are always telling me to “do what I love” and to “follow my passion.” The vast majority of the students at my school plan on having careers in engineering, medicine, law, or business, which is really wonderful and speaks well for the strength of our undergraduate program here. But does this mean that the vast majority of students are passionate about one of these four fields?
I want to be a professional travel writer. Most of the time, when I tell people that, they give me a quizzical look, maybe laugh a little, then ask me if I’m joking. Well, the answer is, quite frankly, no. I’m not looking to be an investment banker, or a neurosurgeon, or a politician. I don’t really care much for economics and you’d be hallucinating if you found me in any kind of engineering course. But I do love to write, so much more than anything, and I love knowing how people think and operate and act. Travel writing lets me expand both of these passions – I can combine my experiences learning about cultures and societies with my written documentation skills. The thought of traveling without a foreseeable end, being a “wanderer”, and sharing my experiences and advice and resources with others who may be inspired to travel. I know I can put my whole heart into travel writing, and doing it well, and becoming an expert on traveling on a budget. My passion and enthusiasm for reaching out to others is just as strong as my desire to see the world, and I don’t think there is any better career out there for me than this. Through my website, I want to show the world that young people don’t need to fit into the mold of “practical” jobs in order to live a fulfilling and sustainable life. I know that, wherever I end up, that won’t be the case for me.
And I know, right now, I’m just getting started. I am a small fish in the big ocean of travel writing. So many things can happen between now and graduation. But I know I’ll always have a passion for travel, writing, and people. I also realize that I’ve broken out of the thought process that the only “good” careers are those that make a lot of money – a mindset that fewer and fewer people in this world can admit to have adopted. I know being a travel writer will be difficult. I know that there’s a significant possibility that it won’t work out. But if there is an opportunity to follow my dreams, what reason do I have not to take it?
Of course, I am not saying that I don’t think anyone should be a doctor, or a lawyer, or a businessman. We need these people so that our world functions, and I know that there are many people out there who are passionate about these careers. But I think students should be encouraged to do what they want as well. I’m tired of telling people I want to be a travel writer and hearing sarcastic responses like, “don’t we all?” It’s a real job, one where people do real work and have real reputations to uphold. It’s not just prancing around the world without responsibilities – it’s finding time in every place during every day to reflect on it, to research it, to sit down and write about it for hours on end. It’s about making sure that your readers feel a personal connection with you, making sure that you have a business plan, and keeping up with current trends and events in the tourism world. This is the life of a travel writer – a busy, writing-filled, thought-inspired, collaborative and strategically-oriented career. It’s not easy and it’s not all fun and games.
But that’s what I love so much about the bloggers I’ve met – they all have their own amazing story, they’re always open to talk passionately about their travels, their experiences, and their writing. They’re willing to give you advice, to give you words of encouragement, and to help you out. I really appreciate and enjoy what little I’ve seen of the travel blogging community, and I believe I can one day fit in here very well. For me, there is nothing I would like more than to be a travel writer, because I know it’s something I can enjoy and excel in for the rest of my life.
In short, I’m not looking to be rich or famous. I don’t care much about having a big house or a nice car or an expensive lifestyle. I’m just seeking a career that will enable me to do what I love – helping other people see the world for all it has to offer.