I’ve been wanting to write this post for a while now because I’ve been thinking a lot about how I put my career on hold to travel when I was 25. Not because I want to share my travel experiences besides a glossary of images that show me smiling ear to ear while having the time of my life… but because now, at 28, I wanted to vent out what it meant for my career and how I feel about it now.
Let me start by saying that I do not by any means regret taking that time off. To give you some context… I had worked at an advertising agency (my first and only desk job) for three years and had burnt out. I was in the midst of planning my wedding and so I was questioning everything.
Where do I want to go from here? What do I want to do with my life? Is this the job I see myself doing forever? Is this the life I want? I remember being plagued with thoughts on happiness and what that meant. While I was 100000% sure I wanted to marry the guy, I wasn’t sure at all I wanted that job. I didn’t want to show up at 8:45 am day after day doing the same ol’ thing. So I quit… right before my wedding. I wanted the time to plan and be happy, just enjoy it all without deadlines and corporate culture and what not.
After coming back from the honeymoon still buzzing from the excitement of travel, I knew I wanted more. I didn’t want to look for a new job and get stuck behind a cubicle again, I wanted freedom, I wanted to be creative, to design on my own terms. So I decided to start a blog and in the meantime, travel.
I often get asked how I could travel for two years with no income… so here it is: I had NO rent to pay, no bills, we had savings, sold all of our stuff and we stayed with friends and friends of friends around Europe. Ta-dah! I wasn’t really doing anything for income or to put myself out there, my designs or my talents. I didn’t offer any design services and I had no way of making money to be honest. I had saved up from those three years at the ad agency, our apartment lease was up and we sold all of our Ikea furniture (which gave us extra cash), we donated a bunch of our stuff and lived off of just two suitcases.
I didn’t think much about freelancing or looking for work. I had my small blog to document my life and travels but didn’t take it seriously enough to consider it an income machine. Honestly, my Career took the backseat while Travel and I were livin’ it up in front.
I went back through my old facebook albums from those two years in research for this post and honestly I couldn’t help but smile. I did get to travel and those experiences will forever be with me. They have shaped who I am, and now at I have a firm grasp on what I want.
At 25 (when I opted for travel > career) I had no idea what was happening and I was not being intentional with anything, let alone knew what I wanted to do. So in hindsight, it was perfect for me to just drop everything and travel at that time. I had the chance to explore, grow, get to know myself and have fun. I wasn’t stuck in some cubicle, I was in New York, then Paris, then living in London for a month, visiting my best friend in Germany, chillin’ in the Bahamas and going home to México to visit my parents. It was pure bliss, and on my first two years of marriage? Hell yes.
Let me just say the one thing that has haunted me since then: If I had just kept going with that blog, my life could possibly be different now.
That was three years ago, and sometimes I can’t help but wonder if in that time I would have kept creating content for my first blog, maybe I would be a cool influencer now, or a millionaire or have product lines, you know… like all the other big bloggers. But I didn’t keep up with it, I was so obsessed with traveling and going places that I neglected that blog and well, my career.
Did my career suffer for it? Mostly no. As I said, to this day, I am haunted by the WHAT IFs. What if I had used that time to grow my career? Become somebody? Be in the six figure bracket? What if I’m too old to start blogging? This is the only negative thing that came from my travels, and at the end of the day… it’s just fear talking. Fear that I missed my window, my ego telling me I lost time, that I failed. Fear is your own personal enemy and worst demon. It is the only thing standing between you and your dream.
But here’s the thing, Martha Stewart didn’t launch her lifestyle empire until the age of 41! Vera Wang decided to change careers and become a fashion designer at the ripe ol’ age of 40. Not to mention J.K. Rowling, who didn’t publish the first Harry Potter book until 32 (after it was rejected by 12 publishers) and was living with welfare benefits. There’s so many people who started living their Dreams later in life. So what’s two, three or even five years of travel?
If you have the means, the drive, the resources and the passion to travel. DO IT. There is so much time to grow a business, to start a new career, to get a new job, start a blog, a mom n’ pop shop… I put my career on hold to travel, I didn’t really do much in terms of work, I launched a blog and didn’t take it seriously, but at the end of the day, I learned so much from my experiences traveling, and that is worth so much more than a neglected blog.
So if you want to travel, travel. Life is short, and all those memories I have, I wouldn’t trade for anything in the world.