New Year, New Opportunities

Well hello there, 2014! Are we already in mid-February? Right, okay then… Life just keeps on moving, whether we’re ready for it or not.

2013 was a strange year for me, but I suppose all years tend to turn out that way. I would categorize 2013 as a “transitional year” for me; I graduated college in December 2012, and I didn’t feel quite ready to leap into the job hunting world, because I just had no idea what I truly wanted to do. I have a BA in Public Communication, and I can honestly say I loved my experience at Buffalo State and the program I was in. I felt like I was getting a good education and I enjoyed my classes and the content I was learning. A degree in the communications field can be great because it’s quite versatile, but what did I want to do with it?

I made sure to remind myself that I don’t have to be boxed in to my degree. All because I have a degree in Public Communication it doesn’t mean that I have to get a “traditional” PR job. In fact, traditional PR jobs is something that I never wanted. I’ve always been more interested in the writing aspect to public communication and I knew I wanted to pursue a career with a strong focus in writing. All I knew is that if I could find a job that would keep me surviving and happy, that is all I wanted. If it didn’t necessarily pertain to my degree, that was okay.

But…still. What did I want to do? It’s a question young adults are always asked, especially after they graduate college. I loved getting an education but I couldn’t imagine digging myself deeper into debt by pursuing grad school. Plus, I had that trip to Europe coming up in the summer, and I’m not sure if I wanted to head into any job interviews with me having to say, “Oh yeah, I will be in Europe for the month of July, I hope that’s okay.” For some reason I had a feeling that might put a strike against me during the hiring process. Plus, how could I think about getting a job and diving into the real world when I had Europe on my mind?

So Europe became my haven. Whenever I was asked the dreaded “So now what are you going to do?” question, I confidently answered, “Well, I am going to Europe for a month in the summer, so right now I’m just focusing on saving up money for that.”

And just like that, instead of being met with the quizzical-meets-judgmental stare that I usually got after I danced around that question, peoples’ faces instead lit up with smiles and enthusiasm.

“Europe! Oh my god, how exciting!”

“You are going to have a life changing experience!”

“I went to Europe when I was your age, it was the best time of my life!”

“You might never come home!”

“You might fall in love and get married over there!”

So maybe I didn’t get married (there’s always next time) and I ended up coming back home…but everything else certainly happened to me over there. Even though I knew it was going to be an amazing, life changing experience, nothing could prepare me for the profound impact traveling abroad left on me. Every single day I was there, I said to myself, “Yep. I need to keep traveling. I need to do this for the rest of my life.” I already knew that this wasn’t going to be my last big trip, and that I would somehow need to find a way to keep this going, well after this trip concluded.

I never expected or planned to have my trip to Europe help shape what I wanted to do when I came back home, and inevitably to the real world, but that’s exactly what it did. I kept a blog while I was there (this one, duh) and I loved recording everything that I had done while also reflecting on my experiences. Maybe I could do this for a living? Coming home from Europe, I discovered the vast and wonderful world of travel writing. I was inspired, encouraged, and motivated. I loved reading everyone’s experiences and I also loved seeing people making a living doing it.

While it still remains to be seen if I can or will make a living off my travel writing, I feel really happy and excited that I can more accurately pinpoint what I’m looking for when it comes to my career. I want to write and have the freedom to explore the world. I want to write meaningful content and inspire others, whether it’s to travel or to be a part of something much bigger than themselves. Now that we’ve turned the page to 2014, and I look at my “transitional year” in the rear-view mirror, I’m grateful that I can answer the question, “Now what do you want to do?” a little bit more accurately.

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