I would like to dedicate my first blog post to answering the question which both my friends and I have been wrestling with: shall I get a career or travel? The reason that this problem exists is that people want the excitement and unpredictability of travel and the security, status and long-term benefits of getting a career. But it is also apparent that together, these ambitions are at odds with one another.
So how do you resolve this apparent contradiction in your to-do-lists? Can you make these two apparently, non-complimentary life choices work? Well, I think that the first way to approach this conundrum is to realise that any decision you make is very rarely absolute or unchangeable. If you choose either travel or getting a career, there isn’t a point of no return where you can’t change your life plans and throw in the towel!
It is actually making a decision that is most important. Even if you decide that you don’t want to travel or get a career right now, having the courage to realise that is absolutely commendable. All of the time you spend procrastinating will just make you feel that your values, dreams and ambitions all seem to be equally incomprehensible and further away.
The source of the big debate about travel or getting a career is the same as any other, it is made difficult since we don’t want to have to step out of our comfort zones to pick either one–even if they are both good options. Human beings constantly resist change and in doing so, they limit their potential and happiness because of an irrational fear of the unknown. Change is not the easy option. It demands effort, conscious thought and faith. But it is the point where you are most creative and productive, the marks in your life where you feel most proud. If you are reading this blog post, it is more than likely that you are craving that positive change, so acknowledge that you are in the minority of people really willing to grow and develop, and realise that you need to stop being too hard on yourself and enjoy whichever decision you make.
So how to do it:
Quite simply, give yourself 24 hours to make your decision (you already know what is perfect for you and nothing is going to change that by waiting around for an epiphany, or someone else to tell you how to live your life). Yes, sorry to break it to you, but the way out of your hole is to do something scary: sit quietly, alone and think about what you really want. Then grab a piece of paper, forget every other person and their opinions on what you should do, and just think about what you really want. Some of these pointers may help:
-Does my desire to travel outweigh the sacrifices I will have to make in terms of my career? (It’s inevitable that there will be some work-based repercussions, usually leaving your current job and having a gap on your CV.)
-Do I care about the above things anyway?
-How will I actually feel when I have the open road ahead of me? Visualise yourself at the airport without any plans, having packed your life into a backpack.
-Is a career or travelling really important to me at this stage in my life?
-What are my values? Which option will help me to fulfil them best?
-Which option will make me happy? Happiness is not some predetermined end, but is the joy of going on a journey. Whether it is roaming the world and waking up in the middle of the Himalayas, or chatting with an old woman about her evacuation during the war while dressing her head wounds!
I would also like to add that sometimes in life, we just need to be calm and sit things out for a while. Very often we feel like we have to jump from one goal to the next without allowing ourselves to sit back and look at our achievements and enjoy just being. If you ever find yourself forcing a path because you don’t actually know what you want, but can’t stand sitting it out until you work it out, then please don’t feel guilty about not knowing what you want. Accept it. You will find your way eventually, so don’t just rush into something your heart isn’t in just to fill the gap. I can guarantee that 90% of people doubt their decisions constantly– we just don’t live in a culture where people talk about it. Remember that a ‘gap’ isn’t necessarily an empty, negative space, but room for something better.