My Year Without a “Real” Job

 Rochefort, France

Last May I was in France, traveling and enjoying myself as I explored new parts of the country. I was standing on the banks of a river in Rochefort looking up at something called a transporter bridge when my cell phone rang. I saw with dread that it was from the office and I reluctantly took the call. Within five minutes I found out that I no longer had a job and my life was forever changed.

I think intellectually I had left my job long before it left me, but the salary and benefits were attractive reasons to stay. As I learned though no amount of money is worth losing one’s spark, one’s soul to a thankless job. And the job was indeed soul sucking and that impacted every other part of my life. I think that’s a major reason why I started LandLopers in the first place back in 2010; it was a last ditch effort to do what I want to do. I had no doubts about my love of travel last May, my doubts were all centered around whether or not I could make this work as a full time job.

Turquoise blue waters

There’s a lot one takes for granted in a traditional, 9-5 type job. A regular paycheck, massive benefits and a certain security that one doesn’t notice until it’s ripped away are just a few. I could have looked for another job, I could have found another security blanket but to what end? It would have just been a replacement, another soul sucking job that would make me as miserable as my last one. I couldn’t do that, I couldn’t subject myself to that torment again. Was it selfish, you bet, no question there. But I feel as if the universe was sending me a not so subtle message and I know it was a defining moment in my life. It was an all too rare crossroads that if ignored, I would regret forever. So armed with conviction and a very understanding partner, I set out to make my passion my job.

I saw a survey recently that said 80% of all Americans are not happy with their jobs. I hope that number isn’t entirely correct because it that’s true, that’s an incredibly depressing statistic. And I also realize that not everyone has the luxury of choosing a job that makes them happy, that fulfills them. But surely there are many other people out there who can change their lots in life, who can pursue something that they love but just don’t. As I learned last year, life is far too short not to do something that makes you happy.

The past year has been hard, no doubt there. I’ve never worked harder in my life but I’ve never enjoyed working more either. I put in many, many hours each week on a variety of projects but I love it and wouldn’t change it for the world. Still, it took nearly a year after losing my job for things to finally start clicking into place.

Matt in Antarctica

I’m now proud to say that I’m a professional travel blogger. What does that mean? Well I think anyone who decides to do this full time is 1) always trying to define what that means and 2) is finding their own path. I work with sponsors and brands in order to bring great content to my readers. Mostly though I work as a freelance social media adviser helping companies work more effectively with bloggers. It sounds simple, but it’s a lot of work and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

So life is good. It’s more complicated than it’s ever been, but not in a bad way. I don’t know what my next step is but I do know that I’m exceptionally lucky to have found my true professional love (travel) and I will continue doing everything in my power to make this a lifelong profession.

Thank you for reading, none of this would be possible without you guys and I’m glad you’ve stuck with me. Together we’ll see what the future holds!

By: Matt Long

Matt has a true passion for travel. As someone who has a bad case of the travel bug, Matt travels the world in order to share tips on where to go, what to see and how to experience the best the world has to offer.

21 thoughts on “My Year Without a “Real” Job”

  1. I should say thank you for being such an inspiration!

    When I grow up I want to be just like you :)

    Much more success to you! Congrats for year 1!

  2. Matt, I love this post and am truly happy that you are living life and enjoy it as its meant to be. I’m in a soul-sucking 9-5 now, but will be done in about 4 months when I head to Spain and begin my journey into living life and following my dreams, even if it means giving up all that is stable, secure, and (yawn)…well, boring. I hope to be able to find what you have someday, not necessarily as a travel blogger but as a person who is finding and doing what they want in life. Thank you for being an inspiration.

    1. Definitely and thanks for the support Lauren! Oh, and just to note, LandLopers started three years ago and I put in full time hours, but it was only last year when I decided to make it my occupation.

  3. I take my hat off for you.

    You are my favorite travel blogger, and I’m looking forward to many more inspirational blogs.

    Good luck.

  4. Wow! You’ve learned so much in just a year… exciting to think what you’ll learn/discover over the one to come. Kudos!

  5. That it’s a year already since I read about you losing your job came as a shock because it’s a clear indicator of how long I’ve been procrastinating!
    I lost mine 3 years ago, and whilst I’ve established a new/alternative life I didn’t seem able to incorporate the travel I wanted into it. After reading your post a year ago-ish I took a sideways look and figured out a way to do it (money and an old dog being the two stumbling blocks), but I got sidetracked (not in an entirely bad way)!
    I still have 3 months to go before I set off, but I have to tell you that it’s so heartening to read what you’ve written in this post, because, of course, at times I get a bit comfy, and wonder if it’s worth the risks I need to take. Even if one isn’t stuck in the 9 to 5 one can still get kind of bogged down and lethargic. I suppose it’s different strokes for different folks, but reading this just made me realize how it’s travel which ‘does it’ for me. Thanks for the inspiration, and much luck on the next 12. I will be following avidly!

  6. Great article! It’s my dream to be on the go all the time, visiting more and more places, you can never get bored! And if it’s your passion, and if you do it with love, you can’t compare it with normal kind of ‘work’, 9-5… Good luck!

  7. Matt! Thanks so much for the inspiration, I know it is not easy. You probably work more, but get so much more satisfaction out of your work. I even have to say that I briefly saw a glimpse of you at #TBEX Toronto and you looked more relaxed and refreshed, OK, more handsome than ever! So cool you were able to pull this off! Good luck on another year of success.

  8. Congrats to you and your journey. It’s definitely paying off!

    How did you land a social media gig? I’m setting sail for a year next March and am evaluating options for working while traveling via a computer. I have never heard of such a job, but it sounds fantastic!

  9. I’m almost at this point in my own life. I’m on the fence of jumping right when this contract ends or trying to find another soul sucking job. It’s nice to see others who have recently made the jump and been successful. Thanks for sharing.

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