The anniversary came and went without fanfare; in fact I even forgot about it. But it has now been two years since my job and I left each other, tired of each other’s company and annoying demands. I’ve learned a lot over the last two years and while there are some things I would change, what I wouldn’t change is the new path my life has taken.
I was in France on a press trip, appropriately enough, when I learned that my services were no longer necessary at my old job as a DC lobbyist. I had mentally departed long before then and while it was a shock to the system at the time, it was long over due. I mentally struggled at first about what to do. I’d been brought up thinking that there was only one true path to happiness. School-college-grad school-job-relationship-retirement-death. That was it. That was my grand plan and I never, ever thought twice about it. In retrospect I should have probably thought twice about it.
I started my web site more than four years ago as a creative escape, a way for me to share my experiences and love of travel with friends and anyone else who cared enough to read. I realize now though that it wasn’t an escape; it was my self-conscious fighting against me, struggling mightily to put my life back on the right track. I’ve always loved learning about new cultures, that’s why I have two degrees in International Relations. I always meant to pursue that as a career but life stepped in the way and I ended up working in domestic politics, something I hated desperately. My inner self though knew differently and once a couple of vacations a year were no longer enough, it intervened.
Starting this site in very real terms saved my life. It woke me up to what is truly important in life; happiness and doing what one loves is key. Money, power and all of their trappings are not nearly as important and at the end of the day one has nothing but a full wallet and a heart that is empty. Two years ago I set out on the course to follow my passions while still making a living. I didn’t have a choice, I have a partner, mortgage, we have two cars and three dogs. I had to not only make money, but I had to match or exceed my old salary. For those entrepreneurs out there you know how hard this is, but if successful there’s nothing quite like it.
Through massive amounts of trial and error and working harder than I ever have, I think I have finally eked out my own spot in the world of travel and I’m pretty happy with the way things are going. What is even more amazing to me is how much better everything else in my life has gotten as a result. I’m not a new age, hippy dippy kind of guy but I do think there is a certain power in positive thinking. I’ve seen it. This has also influenced my partner to a certain degree, who left his own nose-to-the-grindstone job for one that gives him much needed free time. But I’ve learned a lot along the way and while I know I have a long way to go and much more to learn, I thought I’d share some of my own take-aways from the last couple of years.
- If a business opportunity doesn’t feel right, walk away and fast.
- Know your own limits and respect them. You can’t be all things to all people.
- Stay organized. I’d be doomed if I weren’t hyper organized.
- Hard work does pay off. I’ve never worked harder in my life, but I’ve never been happier doing it.
- Don’t fall back into old habits. Remember to balance family/friends with being an entrepreneur.
- Help others, but don’t let them walk over you.
- Stay true to yourself and always be honest.
- There is no such thing as a dream job, but without a doubt some jobs are better than others.
- First impressions are almost always right. Don’t think potential business partners will change.
I’ve used the term entrepreneur several times in this post and that’s what I am. This site and my brand are my business and I am very much a small business owner, working with companies in a variety of ways. I’m an editor, consultant, spokesperson, marketer and so much more. They’re all skill sets I honed working with LandLopers and are all extensions of who I am. In order to be successful in this business you have to think of yourself of a business, otherwise you’ll just putter along.
It’s been a crazy two years, but they’ve been productive ones. I think I’m getting to the point where I can finally achieve a balance between travel, work and home life and I am confident that 2015 will bring even more exciting opportunities and more ways for me to share my love of travel with the world. Ultimately, that’s what this is all about. I love seeing the world and meeting new people and I try very hard to impart that same spirit and feeling of discovery through my words and photos. That’s what this site is all about, it’s what I’m all about and I can’t wait to continue doing it well into the future.