While I’m constantly writing about my travels and my life as a travel blogger, one thing I’ve rarely talked about is what I was doing before this. What many of you may not know is I actually hold a BA/MA in Communication & Rhetoric from the State University of New York at Albany, with my thesis and internships preparing me for the world of non-profit public relations.
For a long time this is what I thought I wanted to do. That being said, there was no denying my unquenchable thirst for travel. Practically all the money I made from my waitressing job during school went to my travel fund, and I would jet off every chance I got. My friends and family kept asking how I planned to get a “real job” if I was constantly backpacking for months at a time. I would tell them that after college I would be done backpacking and traveling so often. It was just something I had to get out of my system. At this point I thought to make money on travel you had to be Rick Steves or Anthony Bourdain.
After college I went backpacking “just one more time” through South America, spending three months journeying through Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Peru and Ecuador. Along the way I fell in love with the locals, the food, the cultures, the landscapes and, most importantly, the journey itself.
When I returned I half-heatedly looked for jobs, knowing that these 9-to-5 positions would throw me into “comfortable” four-walled offices that, to me, would feel akin to a cage.
I didn’t want a “real” job. I didn’t want to get married young and have kids by 28. I didn’t care about owning a house. I wanted to experience the world. And in voice in my head kept urging, “follow your dreams!”
It wasn’t until I stumbled upon Matador Network’s online travel writing course that I realized with my passion and writing skills I — a normal everyday person not backed by a publisher or big company — could make a living as a travel writer. I started reading other travel blogs, making lists of what I liked and didn’t like, while honing my skills through the course. Before designing my site I thought a lot about my brand and the type of content I wanted to publish, quirky adventures, immersive experiences and detailed guides that would help readers imitate my itineraries. While I built the site, I continued waitressing for income, not wanting to be completely broke if things didn’t workout as I was hoping. I had to at least try, though.
Today, I enjoy a career as a travel blogger that allows me to work from home, make my own schedule and travel the world. I’m still constantly learning about new ways to make money, form partnerships, pitch outlets, enhance the site and write engaging stories. While some opportunities workout and help me grow, others flop and serve as a learning experience. Either way, it keeps me challenged and interested in my job.
There are too many people out there who hate what they do for a living. It’s time to change that. Along with inspiring travel through my site, I hope to inspire others to live their life to the fullest. Based on my experiences, here is a 6-step plan for achieving your dreams.
1. Pinpoint Your Dream
The first step toward achieving your dream is realizing your dream. For me it didn’t become clear until after college, and that’s okay. Think about your situation right now and if you’re truly happy. Life isn’t perfect; however, for the most part you should enjoy what you do, where you live, how you spend your free time and the people you surround yourself with. If you’re unfulfilled, think about what times you truly feel useful or happy. This is a good starting point for figuring out how you want to spend most of your week.
2. Find Inspiration From Others
Many times, our dreams can seem unattainable. Maybe this is because the profession we wish we were in isn’t common, or because we’re afraid to switch jobs or move because we’re set in our routine. To make your dream seem more attainable, read stories in blogs, books, magazines and newspapers about other people achieving similar goals. If possible, reach out to the writer for helpful advice. Even if you can’t find stories talking about exactly what you want to do, reading about people overcoming obstacles and achieving the “impossible” is great for inspiration.
3. Take The Logical Steps Necessary
Don’t just quit your job and drop everything until you’re absolutely ready. Have some money set aside in case plans don’t work out. Also, don’t act until you have a business or life plan laid out so you know what steps need to be taken to achieve your dream, and how you plan on taking them. You want to be proactive about making things happen, but you also want to be smart.
4. Have A Positive Mindset
“Attitude is everything” is a quote everyone should live by. If you pursue a goal with the attitude of “this probably won’t happen but I hope it does,” you’ll never be able to give achieving your dream your full effort, as passion and positivity are what really push people to success. Envision yourself living your dream. I don’t mean give it a cursory “wow, wouldn’t that be nice?” thought; I mean really picture yourself doing what you love day in and day out so fervently you make it your destiny. It may sound silly, but many believe people are capable of willing things into their lives with their mind due to energies in the universe. While I’m not sure I agree 100%, I do believe we can will things into our lives with our minds because our minds will then control our actions.
5. Don’t Be Afraid To Get Creative
While it’s helpful to look at other people living your dream for inspiration and ideas, use them only as a model and then add your own twist. One way to succeed in life is to be different, and offer the world something it hasn’t seen yet. Your accomplishments will truly feel like your own when you make them your own.
6. Take Action
After all the planning and brainstorming, it’s time to take action and really follow your dreams. At this point you should have a guide written (yes, written, not just in you head) of how you’re going to achieve your goal It’s now time to take Step 1. Once that’s complete move on to Step 2, then Step 3 and so on. Every month or so, evaluate your progress and make changes to your plan as needed. Be patient, as big dreams aren’t achieved overnight; however, they do come to those who want them bad enough.
Are you living your dream? How did you get to where you are today? If not, what would you like to change about your life?