This November I will turn 30. As I approach my 30th birthday (and start to brainstorm various trips I can take to distract from that big 3 – 0), I am looking back on my twenties. Of all the adventures I’ve had these past 10 years, my twenties have been the most memorable, testing and exciting of them all. I graduated university in Indiana, I moved to France, I had glitter thrown in my eyes with an advertising career in New York, I called off a wedding, I became a travel blogger, a journalist and now travel editor with my own show!
Yes, it’s been an adventure and one that I’m often asked about. How did you get that job? How did you become a travel editor? Anytime someone hears my job title, I see their eyes grow wide in wonder, almost pleading with me to unveil my secrets, to roll out some secret roadmap that they can use to have the same job. I wish I could share such a thing, I wish I could demystify my career for you, dear reader, as much as I wish I could demystify it for my own friends and family (who still don’t understand how I manage to travel as often as I do).
The truth is there is no road map, or at least there wasn’t in my case. Perhaps there is a road map: go to journalism school, get an internship at a travel magazine, land an editorial assistant job and work your way up the ladder — but that isn’t want I did. Rather, I took the scenic route in getting to this point. I stumbled around New York City from career to career, trying a year in public relations, marketing and a few years in advertising, all the while writing on the side.
To be honest, sometimes I wish I had ‘figured out’ my calling earlier. It was always there staring me in the face. I was always writing in my spare time, always trying to find editorial jobs to break into, always dreaming about travel. Like a few other things in my twenties, it took some time for my mind to catch up with my heart. When it did, I quit my job and poured everything — and I mean everything — into my travel writing. I lost friends, I left relationships, I lost money and I quit jobs all in the pursuit of what was by all means a pipe dream to become a travel writer.
I pitched publications, I built my own travel blog and then one day last summer I applied for the role of Travel Editor at Culture Trip. The rest, as they say, is history. The reason I am sitting here and writing this for you, am recording a video of myself telling my story to you, is because I am a dreamer and my entire twenties was marked by dreaming (as I imagine the rest of my life will be).
I remember wishing to be a travel editor, feeling as though the dream was impossible but running towards it with open arms anyway. I read everything I could find about becoming a full time travel writer, blogger, editor, journalist — any title that would allow me to combine my love of writing and travel into a paying career. I tried to emulate what worked for other people, I tried to follow in the footsteps of the greats, but in the end I carved my own quirky, roundabout path that was just mine.
No matter how far my dreams felt, or how unrealistic they seemed, I never stopped chasing them. My journey is far from over. Yes, I am Travel Editor now of a great publication but there are so many directions to go from here as I push my journalism career to be bigger, greater and better.
That’s why I’m telling you this story, because there is no roadmap to chasing a dream, there is just you and the ambition to never stop running until you reach the horizon of your fantasy.