Perhaps the worst part of working in an office is the water cooler talk overheard each time I would make yet another bland, Lipton green tea. In that grey office with its fluorescent lighting and outdated carpeting, I would shuffle my feet to the small kitchen area and listen as co-workers would wistfully speak of vacations they’d take if they only had the time. If only. As I floated from corporate job to corporate job, from advertising to public relations to marketing, it seems that “if only” was a constant theme hovering above the colorless and flimsy cubicle walls.
While friends would stay at their jobs and climb up the corporate ladder, I would bounce from office to office in search of a job that could somehow throw enough glitter in my eyes to make me forget about the monotony of work. It was my assumption that if I could merge my passion of travel and the epicurean world with a career, that I could somehow discover that allusive equation to total happiness. As time passed, it dawned on me that if I couldn’t find the perfect job, I would create it and so The Pin the Map Project was born and with it my side work as a freelance travel writer.
For quite some time now I have flirted with the idea of taking time to freelance and focus on my writing. To step off the corporate treadmill and enter the renegade world of freelancing seemed at once thrilling and terrifying as I would be swapping a consistent paycheck and benefits for freedom and an open schedule. Of course, the only predictable thing about life is how unpredictable it can be and I have now found myself on the brink of jumping off the corporate cliff and into the world of freelance starting today.
While I secretly rejoice at the idea of turning a cheek to Outlook, kissing goodbye to Excel spreadsheets and shrugging off monotone conference calls; I can’t quite believe that I am stepping into this non-conformist world of freelancing that I have so often admired yet recoiled from. As questions flood my mind–Will I be living dollar to dollar? What if I can’t make ends meet? Will I be living off Ramen noodles? —I also know that there truly is no time like the present when it comes to pursuing your dreams.
So here I sit, somewhere in an apartment in Queens with snowflakes swirling outside my window and the room illuminated by nothing more than a brilliant array of Christmas lights lining the walls and wrapped around the tree. My laptop sits perched on my knees and my writing flows through my fingers effortlessly as I bask in the idea of soon waking up each day to focus on my writing rather than have it eclipsed by the needs of clients and supervisors.
As my travel writing continues to blossom in unexpected ways that have taken me from the streets of Buenos Aires to the cafes of Paris to the pubs of London, it gets tricker to balance a 9-5 job that consistently conflicts with my writing, limits my traveling and monopolizes my attention with projects. As the saying goes, “you know that when the truth is told that you can get what you want, or you can just get old,” so at the ripe age of 27 I am placing all bets on myself and jumping head first into freelance writing.