Every blog has its story. For some, it’s a documentation of their lifestyle or hobby. For others, it’s a way for family members to keep up with their lives, especially if they’re living far away or traveling. For me, the story is a little more complicated, and involves what might be described as a quarter life crisis.
Passport & Plates is not my first blog. My original blog was a somewhat embarrassing Tumblr that I created at the beginning of college for my wayward thoughts. The second was an amateur travel blog, created when I studied abroad. Neither were ever really meant for public consumption.
So what made me start a “real” blog? Well…
It all started in November of 2012. I had just graduated that summer and after months of traveling, returned home only to find myself longing to be on the road again. I just kept telling myself over and over that it was time to grow up and find a full-time job. And it worked…for awhile.
Those months of funemployment were productive, to say the least. Besides aggressively job-hunting, I researched digital nomads: people who make a living by earning money through online jobs, websites, blogs, etc., all while being location-independent.
That idea never really left my head, despite my best efforts to squash it. I told myself that I needed to get a 9 to 5 job, because what skills did I possibly have that would allow me to live this life? Needless to say, I secured a “normal” job and spent the next 2.5 years feeling like I was wasting my time in a job that not only wasn’t for me, but was also making me miserable.
Two of those years were spent in quarter-life crisis mode. If you’re a millennial, chances are you know exactly what I’m talking about. If you’re not, then let me break it down simply. It’s all the symptoms associated with thinking things like “I’m supposed to be an adult, but I don’t feel like one, especially because I have NO idea what I want to do with my life.” It was terrible. I read inspirational books, made pro-con charts, and spent endless hours seeking advice from my friends and family.
After two long years of back and forth debate, emotional breakdowns, and attempts at convincing myself to be logical, I finally decided to leave my job.
“You are an unfinished work in progress. One of the good things about life’s challenges: you get to find out that you’re capable of being far more than you ever thought possible.” ― Karen Salmonsohn
This was neither an easy decision, nor one without consequence. As a chronic worry wart with an ambitious “never quit” attitude, I have to admit that I was TOTALLY FREAKING OUT.
I was scared to death of the unknown. A little excited too, but mostly scared. But it dawned on me that staying at my job was even scarier. Because complacency in life is what I fear the most. The fear that I would wake up in ten years and wonder where my life had gone and why I hadn’t chased my dreams was what propelled me to move forward. I’m fully aware of how I fortunate I am. Very few people have the luxury to choose to leave a job or to make these big decisions based off their feelings. I left because I am fortunate enough to be able to, and because I do have this privilege – and I put a lot of faith in the universe when I did it.
“Adventure is a path. Real adventure – self-determined, self-motivated, often risky – forces you to have firsthand encounters with the world. The world the way it is, not the way you imagine it. Your body will collide with the earth and you will bear witness. In this way, you will be compelled to grapple with the limitless kindness and bottomless cruelty of humankind – and perhaps realize that you yourself are capable of both. This will change you. Nothing will ever again be black-and-white.” – Mark Jenkins
Before making this decision, I thought long and hard (because it’s me and that’s what I do) and I asked myself a lot of questions. What do I want in a job? Where do I want to live? What do I want to do?
I have the answers and I don’t. I want that somewhat mythical work-life balance, I want to live in Europe, and I want a job where I’m having some sort of impact. Sometimes, I’m such a cliché millennial that it kills me. Especially because the first thing I did when I quit was to plan a trip to Europe.
I’d always been a little obsessed with Andalusia, so I knew it had to be part of the itinerary. After a lot of planning and research, I ended up deciding to spend a month in Spain and a couple of weeks split between Amsterdam, London, and Lisbon. I’d been toying with the idea of starting a proper blog for some time, and figured this would be the perfect opportunity. Not only was I in a particularly ambiguous period in my life, but I also had a lot more free time. If I wasn’t able to use the blog as an additional source of income, then at least I’d be able to showcase my writing skills (HA!) and have a side project that I actually cared about.
It’s now nearing the end of November. I guess I’m no longer in a quarter-life crisis, however you define it. I spent many months soul searching (and you know, crying and all that fun stuff), and I finally have some clear goals in mind. The 2016 plan is twofold: to move to Spain and to continue blogging. As for the rest of the arbitrary things I’m supposed to get done by the time I’m 30…well, let’s just take this one step at a time.
I am fortunate enough to be an EU and American citizen, so at least the “hard part” is out of the way. Now just to find either a remote job as a digital nomad or a job in a struggling Spanish economy. Right. That has been an adventure in and of itself, but I’m working on it. What’s life without some goals anyway?
So there you have it. The extremely long and detailed story of how Passport & Plates came to be. The funny thing in all of this is that I’ve actually become the resident expert amongst all my friends that are thinking about quitting their jobs. Definitely not a skill I’ll be adding to my resume, though. Maybe I’ll reword it as “listener and advice-giver” instead.
What about you? Have you ever suffered a quarter life crisis? What advice would you offer to your 25-year-old self?