Why I Chose The Nomadic Life Instead Of A Career

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

We all have the choice to choose a path in life. Often times though, our decisions are clouded by what others pressure us into thinking.

Our lives were mapped out from the day we were put in kindergarten: go to school, think about what you want to be when you grow up, choose a degree in which you would like to pursue, graduate college, compete against other graduates in the job force, work for a big name company, earn a high salary, get good benefits and become successful.

I chose a lifestyle quite opposite to that, not only because I didn’t like the 9-to-5 or because I didn’t want to work for someone, but simply because I wanted to pursue a dream, which was to travel the world freely. Little did I realize how I started to become lured into the nomadic lifestyle in exchange for the conventional career path.

Sole Sister Emma Climbing-melbourne

Moving up the social ladder

I studied marketing in university but always envisioned myself working in the fashion industry. I worked at a small fashion wholesale company in which I took charge of the marketing department. 

A few times a year, I would go on all-expenses-paid business trips in Canada and the U.S. I was excited at my job and I envisioned myself being a successful woman in the fashion industry. 

But it all changed when I looked further ahead. I realized I had no future in this small company, one for which I was hoping to become the head buyer. I loved the fact that I was able to travel for my job, but I wanted to travel more. I wanted to travel freely.

Knowing I could not see myself fulfilling this travel dream while staying committed to a career, I needed to make a decision.

Sole Sister Emma  long-term-travel

The Click

I wanted to hold off on constantly working towards the perfect career. It was extremely draining. I wanted to see what else was out there. I knew the fashion industry was no longer for me when I got a glimpse at what it would be like to work for the reputable L’Oreal Company.
During University, many of my colleagues dreamt of working for L’Oreal, so it became a desire for me too. I fortunately scored an interview at the firm, and quickly realized it was not for me. I realized I didn’t belong to such a lifestyle of glam and fashion, and that my heart was yearning for something remotely different that would liberate my adventurous spirit.

Sole Sister Emma  solo-travelling

Pinning down the fear

I was always afraid of travelling alone. I was so afraid that I could not be by myself for an entire day. That’s when I decided I no longer wanted this fear to control me. The distant thought of travelling alone came up and I remember it scaring me to death.

My older sister had always told me to "do one thing every day that scares you".

It was one sentence that stuck to me.

I had always envied my older sister for being brave enough to go on trips by herself. She was an independent person that I hoped to one day become.

Her inspiration was the seed that planted in me: without realizing it I felt the desire to follow her footsteps. I dreamt of the day I would travel by myself, thinking it was such a crazy, far-fetched dream that it couldn't be anywhere near possible, until I told myself I would finally travel after graduating University.

Sole Sister Emma langtang-trekking

Quitting my job

I had a great job that fashion enthusiasts would have killed for. My job was far from mundane and I was great at it. I knew I could make a career out of it, but I also knew that I was made for something much greater.

I realized that as cliché as it sounds, I really do just have one life to live. If I quit my job, I could get it back, or I can find a new one if I really wanted to. Yes, I will leave my life of routine and stability, but the desire to discover what was on the other side of the fence was much more appealing than security to me. At 23 years old, I was young and fresh out of University. Yes, I had to leave a great job, but what else was there for me to lose?

Quitting a job is probably the most uncomfortable thing to do, and it never gets easy. But once you have made the decision to quit, you just have to face the fear of confrontation and do it. Don’t settle out of fear. Step beyond that line of comfort and you will see a million other doors opening in front of you.

Sole Sister Emma langtang-summit

Excitement for the unknown

I left a career in the rising for a path leading to the unknown. I quit the job I enjoyed in exchange for uncertainty. I wanted to feel the risk, and I wanted to put myself in a place so uncomfortable that I would have to face my fears on my own.
Finally, after having made my decision to travel the world, I booked myself a one-way flight ticket to Australia.

By travelling alone, I discovered and still learn about who I truly am. There is really no one else to rely on but you. Yes, you meet amazing people along the way and you never actually end up being alone, but you develop a habit of making your own decisions by doing what you want.
You are always free to do as you wish and no longer need to care about the social pressure of having to be somewhere or doing something you think you should do.

Sole Sister Emma school-teacher-nepal

Choosing a reality

It was only until I left my comfort zone that I discovered something I truly loved that made me feel alive. Sometimes I look back at how quickly these two years have flown by and can definitely say that my decision to not pursue a career has changed my life.
By now, at 25, I could have been married. I could have owned a house, or a condo, or a car. I could have been working at a reputable firm to pay for things I think I need, to buy things I think will make me happy, and to do what I think I should be doing at this stage in my life.

I would also probably be day dreaming about some exotic place in the world, while planning out my next vacation to come in 40 something weeks. I probably would be wondering what it would be like to be a carefree explorer, travelling to exciting places and going on all kinds of adventures.

Luckily my reality is exactly that, and I wouldn’t trade it for any career in the world.

Would you ever trade your career and choose the nomadic path? Share your thoughts in the comments section!

Sole Sister Emma activetravlr-climbing-thailand

Sole Sister Emma of The Active Travlr is an adventure traveller from Canada, backpacking around the world. With the love for nature, an obsession for rock climbing, and a passion for travelling, she packed her bags and decided to explore the world, with no return date. The travel bug bit, and her year-long travel plan fell through. Two years later, she’s still on the road for the unknown, to a destination off the beaten path. She also just recently raised 12,000 CAD to help rebuild remote villages affected by the quake in Nepal through her independent project The Travelling Movement. She is currently back in Canada planning for her next big trip.

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