Working while Traveling – The Anti Quarter Life Crisis
On Wednesday, June 20th, I turned 25 years old. The age of the quarter-life crisis, second guessing past decisions and trying to get your life together. I realized that my life is nothing like I had imagined it would be at this age – and I couldn’t be happier. I choose the working while traveling lifestyle instead of settling down and it has made all the difference. There are so many things I thought would have happened by the age of 25. Now that I’ve hit a quarter-century, here’s a look at where I thought I’d be and how I feel about it now.
I thought I would be married or engaged
Even though I went into college as a totally over-focused, over-planning weirdo who just wanted to “get my degrees and get out” as I was known to say, I ended up being in a committed relationship by my second semester of my first year. I was with this same guy all through college and then some, so I basically figured that by 25 I would at least be engaged. Of course, we broke up. (You can read all about how that spiraled me into year 2010: My Greatest Challenge)
Now that I am 25, I am absolutely thrilled to NOT be married or engaged. I have a totally awesome boyfriend, Pedro, who I makes me so happy, but I love not being married. In fact, during my trip to Mexico, three of my close friends got engaged in one week. When Pedro picked me up from the airport I told him about it, took his hand in mine and said, “Pedro, would you NOT marry me?”
If you’re 25 and married, that’s great for you. But it would not have been great for me. First of all, I would have been married to a guy that didn’t deserve me. Second of all, I would not be as free to do whatever I want and be wherever I want. Which leads me into my next misconception about my 25th year of life.
I thought I would be working my way up in company
As I mentioned before, I was once a psychotic over-planner. The kind of girl who starts a retirement account at the age of 20 and has 10 year plans. I was so driven I cried when I got Bs in college. I argued my way out of A minuses and got them raised to A’s. My eye was always on the prize: a society accepted awesome job that I totally kicked ass at with plenty of promotions in my future.
When I graduated right before turning 22, I was actually well on my way to that dream. I had 2 years experience working at a Search Engine Marketing company. During those two years I had worked my way up from a basic do-anything employee to the Director of International Marketing. I quit the day before I graduated.
Why would I quit a high-paying job in the middle of a huge recession? To travel through South America and do what truly made me happy. I hated that job. Oh my God, I hated it. Every day I would sit in the parking lot and have to convince myself to go inside. Sure, I had a huge savings account, bought a car, and had a platinum credit card. But it sucked. Luckily, even the psychotic overplanner in me knew that success must include happiness. My happiness was the freedom I felt while traveling. I bailed and I have absolutely never regretted it.
Now I’m a freelancer. I never know how much money I will make in a month. It’s terrifying and exhilarating all at once. I love telling people I won’t do their shitty work. I love being a writer while still being able to tutor preschoolers in Spanish and do Spanish interpretations. Choosing not to Choose, people! It’s where it’s at!
I thought I would have chosen a city to live in
I knew I didn’t want to live in my hometown of St. Louis, Missouri forever. I figured by 25 I would have chosen a city, most likely based on that totally awesome job I figured I would have. You know what? I have no idea where I want to live.
After 1.5 years in Argentina, I came back to St. Louis to go freelance and figure things out. What I figured out was that I love traveling and it will always be a priority for me. Now, the criteria for what city I want to live in are totally different. Is it a hub city with cheap in and out flights? Can I use my Spanish there? Is the cost of living cheap enough to allow me to have a base there but still travel several times a year?
I am nothing like the 25 year old I thought I would be. I am so much better. I am not married to a guy who wasn’t right for me. I am not in a job that pays the bills but kills my spirit. I am not tied to one location. I am a freelancing, travel-loving, untraditional and outrageously happy 25 year old.