People who know exactly what they want to do in life at a very young age have always fascinated me. Even kids in college, by the time they need to declare a major, they’ve already got it all mapped out…and they stick with it through graduation, getting a job perfectly suited to their studies. Who does THAT, anymore? In this article I will attempt to explain why I decided to become travel blogger.
Twenty-two is WAY too young to know what you want to do with the rest of your life!
I’m a little bit of a loner…ever since I was a wee lass. Not quite fitting into any one group or place. And I am definitely an introvert. Painfully shy as a child, I slowly grew out of my shell after I left home to strike out into the world on my own. Now in my 40’s, I’d still much rather sit in a café alone with my computer (or at home), than socializing with a group of people. Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoy the occasional (very occaisional) social event, but too many of those just leaves me exhausted!
Straight out of high school I attended a vocational school that trained people to be travel agents. I had always loved summer vacations as a kid, when my parents would drive us to a new and exciting place every year. I knew I didn’t want to go to college (at least not right away), but I had to do SOMETHING other than working at the mall. So why not be a travel agent, and send people on vacation?
No brainer, right?
My first plane ride was to that vocational school, in Texas….and I was hooked. Hal Linden, that guy from the show Barney Miller, was on my flight (WOW). But after completing the course (and getting 100% on the final), it took me many months to find a travel-related job. There were only three travel agencies in my town, and none of them were hiring. My parents pretty much put the kibosh on me moving to one of the coasts to look for a job, it was too far away from our Iowa town, and they thought I was way too young to be making such a move.
What’s a young, impressionable girl to do?
I grew up in the same house with my parents until I was eighteen. And boy, by then was I ready to get the hell out! I had a wonderful childhood, but an inner wanderlust that would take me decades to fully recognize was gripping me, choking me even. As soon as I could get a travel-related job, I high-tailed it to the nearest big city. I blame this wanderlust on my Dad. I found a gig at a hotel reservation center in nearby Omaha, NE.
As a kid my dream was to move to New York City…it held the promise of glamour that I so craved, far away from flat, culture-less Iowa. I envisioned myself a high-powered executive in Manhattan, making tons of money by day and going out with my friends at night. Where the world was my oyster, and I would be hob-knobbing with famous people at some swanky high-rise party in the Big Apple.
The best-laid plans…
Wellll….it didn’t quite work out that way (do things EVER work out as you envision?) I ended up meeting my husband in Omaha and moving in the exact opposite direction…to the west coast! I love living in the Pacific Northwest and have no regrets.
Years later, I did visit NYC for the first time….by myself! Mon Dieu, I was like a kid in a candy store. That first visit was just a long weekend, and I tried to squeeze in all the major sites. I walked around Times Square at midnight, caught a show on Broadway, went to the top of Rockfeller Center, walked around Central Park… I was exhausted and exhilarated at the same time.
I was in heaven.
So while I was living a content married life in Oregon, I would work various jobs to pay the bills. A couple of my jobs were in the travel industry, but they didn’t quite cut it. I liked them well enough, but the proverbial ‘something’ was missing. I was essentially working in an office, making someone else money, and not really experiencing any of the destinations that crossed my desk. Sure, I had the occasional business trip, but they were for meeting with clients or going to boring conventions. MY dream was to make a living traveling full time and telling others how awesome the world was. But I had no clue how to achieve this.
Eventually, through necessity, I decided to go back to school and earn a degree. After much soul searching (and to prove something to myself) I got a Biochemistry degree.
See, this is the strange dichotomy in my life. I am interested in TOO MANY THINGS. I want to try everything. And I’m a risk taker. These two traits put together make it seem that I’m a bit schizophrenic in my career choices. When I get bored doing one thing, I go on to the next, and often in a totally different direction.
Shortly after completing my degree, I landed a job with a chemical company, as a purchaser. Another office job. Sigh. It was about this time I started to become aware of the whole travel blogging thing, and how it’s been quite mainstream for over ten years now. There are only a select few out there who are making a living doing EXACTLY what I had envisioned since my 20’s – traveling full time and showing the world how to do it.
So why did I decide to become a travel blogger?
Travel blogging involves engaging with people….a LOT of people, whether it be online face to face. But it also involves seeing new and exciting places. THAT is what I get super excited about. And I like meeting new people, but don’t always expect me to start the conversation. This may sound selfish, but I open up to people much more easily if they show me first that they are interested.
“But”…you may ask…”don’t introverts always stay at home?”
I get cabin fever just as much as the next person, perhaps even more so. I can’t imagine a life staying in just one place, not being able to get out and explore my surroundings. This is true whether I’m in my neighborhood, or half way around the world.
So where have I been all of these years? Part of me wonders how I missed the travel blog boat, and didn’t catch on to this sooner. Well, it’s called life, my friend. I was so busy finishing my science degree and living the domesticated life, that I simply was not aware one could do such a thing. Plus, I grew up with the notion that such a thing was unattainable, and irresponsible to boot. This notion had been ingrained into me. To put it bluntly, I just didn’t believe that it was possible, and so I stopped dreaming about it.
Well, no more. I am going back into my childhood toy box (so to speak) and opening back up the dream chest. I am now a travel blogger (albeit part time, for now). And I am only getting started.
“But Explorer Sue,” you say,” travel blogging is hard work! How are you ever going to pull it off, and make a living from it? And you have INSANE competition! You may as well just cash in your chips now and not bother, when there are literally thousands of other travel blogs out there. How are you ever going to compete?”
Well, dear reader, I’ll tell you….in one simple word.
I’ve come to realize that I’m PASSIONATE about travel, and ALWAYS have been. I could talk about it for hours, and then talk about it some more. (And then, of course, go travel somewhere new.) And so I’m finally ready to turn that passion into my life’s work, and quit dinking around with other pursuits that, while noble and all, do NOT fulfill me.
I am well aware that the odds are stacked against me. Despite the thousands of other travel blogs out there, and new ones coming in everyday, I will be one of the very few that will prevail, simply because of that precious ‘P’ word. When so many others will fall by the wayside because this travel blogging thing is ‘SO HARD,’ and so time consuming, I will prevail. Why? Because I just love it. Nothing else has given me as much fulfillment in this life. It might take this blog a few months (hell, maybe even a few years) to gain any real traction, but the bottom line is…..
I won’t stop.
Never. The more I do it, the better I’ll get at it, and those two things alone will make me successful.
So, my lovelies, hang on to your hats, ‘cause this mid-lifer is just getting started!!
Are YOU a travel blogger? Do you want to BE one? What are your biggest challenges, pet peeves, etc? Please leave a comment below!
Do you WANT to become a travel blogger? I highly recommend Travel Blog Success. They will give you ALL THE TOOLS you need to launch your very own site.