What Do You Do, Exactly?

Friday, July 12, 2013

It's been 2 and a half years since I held my last formal job when my dad asks me, 

"So what's your job, now?"

"Travel blogger", I reply. 

"A what? What do you do exactly? Is that the same thing as a columnist or a writer?", he asks again.

Sigh. "Hmmm.. I guess you can say that."

"What was your previous job?" 

"Uhm- Financial services trainer?" 

Travel Blogger Speak

"Yeah. If you hadn't left, would they have made you a manager by now?", he probed.

"Most probably."

"So why don't you just get that job back? Don't you miss the steady paycheck, healthcare, security?"

"Is there ever really any security in life?"

I was having another one of those serious talks with dad. Which reminded of the tough one we had when I told him I was quitting my job to travel. How do I explain to my own father, what exactly I do and why exactly I insist on doing things differently and choose to live with uncertainty?

"We-hell. I'm still experimenting, dad. You know I've always wanted to do my own thing. I want to be known as myself and not for a job that I do or a company that I represent. I also want to learn how to make an income from wherever I am in the world."

How does one even begin to explain location independence to a father who hasn't sent a single email in his life?

My dad just smiled this knowing smile that said: "I don't know what you're talking about, but I love you anyway."

I love you too, dad.

I've been thinking long and hard about that recent conversation. Yeah. What do I do, exactly? Well, here are a few things I'm pretty sure I do:

I travel.

I plan a lot of independent trips that I pay for on my own. Most recently, I'm more focused on slow, unplanned travel that allows me to immerse myself in the local culture. Okay, I'm probably just getting lazy. I also go on blogger and press trips that excite or challenge me. 

Travel Blogger

I write.

Writing is not exactly a passion of mine. But there are a lot of times when I actually enjoy doing it. Some days the words just flow freely. On others, I feel like I have to bleed myself dry to even get a word out. But a huge part of blogging is writing. Plus I also write for other websites and publications. 

Travel Blogger Work

I fight losing battles with my inbox.

I don't think I have grasped the whole 4 Hour Work Week concept or maybe I just don't have the Zen discipline. But whenever I answer one email, 10 more sprout right back up. It's like Plants vs. Zombies in there! If you have found a way to win this battle, please save me.

Travel Blogger Talk

I talk. A lot.

When I was in elementary, I was often forced to switch seats all the time because I talked too much. I should have known that I could make a career out of social networking later on. Today, I talk to a lot of people and make connections both online and off. I also do a lot of public speaking gigs. I often talk about finding passion as well as blogging and social media.

Travel Blogger Laundry

I do laundry.

Okay, not for a living. It hasn't come down to that yet. But I wash my own clothes by hand. It relaxes me. I know, I'm weird like that. 

Travel Blogger Battle

I hustle.

Because of the diverse and rather ambiguous nature of my work, I consider myself an artist. The reason why most artists starve is because they don't know their true worth and have not learned the art of negotiation. Thankfully, I have over 5 years of corporate background that have taught me exactly that. Haggling with too many touts and sellers all over Asia have trained me well too.

Travel Blogger Surf

I play.

All the time. That's how I can switch from spending 8 hours in front of a computer to 8 hours of riding waves. I truly enjoy every aspect of my life and can have immense fun in whatever it is that I am currently doing.

So those are some of the things I do. But what about the things that I don't do? 

Travel Blogger Money

I don't work for money.

I don't know about you, but I've learned this about myself early on: I'm not motivated by money. If you told me I could earn X amount easily- but it didn't interest me or was not meaningful for me, I would simply walk away. But if you told me about this fun project that would challenge me, benefit others and connect me with fun, amazing, like-minded people- Where do I sign up?

Travel Blogger Colleague

I don't waste my time.

For the uninitiated,  my life looks very laid back. I travel, I surf, I lounge at the beach. But doesn't everyone's life look too easy and too good on social media? Don't be fooled. I definitely work hard. I just make work look like a vacation. 

Travel Blogger Surf

I don't settle.

At 5, I only wanted 2 things: to learn how to whistle and blow bubble gum. At 15 I still wanted 2 things: to learn how to drive and open my own bank account. At 31, when all my peers are busy making careers, getting married (or separated), raising kids and buying houses, I still want 2 things more than anything else: to travel and live a passionate life. I won't settle for anything less than that. Now 40, that's a whole different story...

After I've said my piece, I just want to tell you one last thing. Let me show you what I do best. You ready?

Travel Blogger Sleep

Thanks for the capture Journeying James!

Doing what I do best,
Sole Sister Lois

Lois has traveled extensively and has called the USA, Germany, Switzerland and the Philippines home in various stages of her life. When she's not having adventures around the globe, she can be found surfing, surfing someone's couch or giving talks, workshops and retreats. She is a certified Passion Test facilitator who believes that people can find what they love and make a living from their passions. She is the co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of wearesolesisters.com.

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19 sole trails

  1. Kudos to you for your courage on giving up your job to do what you want. A lot of people have difficulties in getting what you have. Courage. And you have inspired me to get myself courage too!! ;)

  2. I like this article. Very inspiring. :D

  3. Immersing yourself in the local culture is definitely not laziness.. not that im guilty :P

    try living in a place where you dont know the language/dialect nor the customs and you don't have a relative nor friend at side.. starting from scratch is actually stressful!

    but the rewards far outweigh the sacrifices.. in the end, you'll.. err we'll be alright. Carry on Lois ^_^

  4. i can totally relate to what you said just that i think you're already half way there and i am just starting to get to know this "location independent lifestyle" thing. late last year i finally had the courage to take a few steps for me to give up my 8 year old job because i can feel the routine doing it is slowly killing me. i hope to read more of this and hope to know more people who are into this.

  5. “I just make work look like a vacation” inspired me a lot. I would like to work like you.

  6. Interesting and inspiring at the same time. How I wish I could travel around the world and not worry about a single cent. :)

  7. To each his own kng baga, but I travelled after I bought and built a house and sent a brother and sister to school. Its best to travel after you have accomplished all the "big items" in life. But of course each person has his own priorities

  8. It was such a joy meeting you over the weekend during one of your workshops:)

    We are living in a world FULL OF POSSIBILITIES! Thanks for showing us that WORK CAN BE FUN & EXCITING! Instead of making excuses, you GO & MAKE LIFE HAPPEN!

  9. This is so inspiring! I wish time will come that I could also get all the courage I need to quit my job and do what I really wanted to do in my life. Thank you for sharing this! :)

  10. Can I let my mom & dad read this so that they'll understand what I want to do with my life? Hahaha. Thank you so much for sharing this! :D

  11. Thanks so much for the boost Nikka! Yes, it took me a while to have the courage to choose to live differently. A lot of people helped me along the way too. Cheers to more courageous women!

  12. Thnks for dropping by and leaving a thoughtful comment grasya! I totally agree with you about slow travel. And yes, the rewards far outweigh the sacrifices. I'm grateful every day that I get to live this life.
    Yes, everything's gonna be alright.

  13. Hey Maria Rona thanks for sharing your personal story. It must have been challenging to leave the comforts of your job. But congratulations for making that big step! It's definitely worth it just to wake up in the morning feeling happy and alive!

  14. Thanks for your thoughts, Anonymous! Yes I definitely feel some guilt when I realize that some people accomplish so much for their family. In the end, it's all about your choices and priorities. I appreciate you for voicing that out.

  15. Hi Hannah Chloe! I'm so happy we have met! I can easily spot another passionate "sister" in you! You are full of energy and I know you are already living most if not all of your passions!

  16. Hey Abz, quitting your job is not the only way to living your ideal life. Maybe you can explore a hobby, travel and still enjoy the freedom within the comforts of a job. Money doesn't necessarily buy us happiness but I have to admit that it allows certain freedom and comfort that enables us to live fulfilled lives.

  17. Copy paste mo lang Maui? haha I'm sure your parents will understand and support you if they see this is really what you want to do ;-)

  18. I like the mobility of my work as well -- something that others will never understand and find kinda fascinating. When someone asks me what I do for a living, I usually am at a loss for words.

  19. Same here TSP. I usually just say I'm a writer. I mean, you don't say magaziner right? So I guess bloggers count as writers? Go figure.


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