I can't tell you how many times throughout college and graduate school I was asked what I was going to do with my English major. 9 times out of 10, they would say, "Oh, so you want to teach?" No, I wasn't extremely fond of teaching, nor was that the direction I was headed. I wanted to be a writer -- plain and simple. Whether that meant travel blogger, freelance writer, novelist it didn't matter. As long as writing was incorporated, I'd be happy.
I was well aware that English majors did not make a substantial income. There were reports I read, articles that highlighted how broke I would be, stories that basically insisted I'd never be able to support myself. How exciting was it that I was pursuing my passion of writing and being told it probably wouldn't amount to sh%*.
However, that didn't stop me. For me, the money wasn't the goal. Yes, of course, most people dream of financial security while some strive for unimaginable wealth. But for me, my goal was to be successful doing something I loved, which was writing.
A story I often tell people was that of my college guidance counselor. We were set up to meet for the first time and I remember sitting across from this young gentleman, who barely acknowledged my presence and kept his eyes on the computer surveying my transcripts. After a long pause this was how the conversation went:
Him: Well, my advice would be that you have a double major in business.
Me: Business? But I'm an English major. I was to focus on creative writing.
Him: Nope, it should be Business. It will give you something to fall back on.
Me: I don't understand.
Him: Well, you just won't make a lot of money being an English major. So you might as well have a back up plan.
Needless to say, I did pick up a minor in Business. It has helped, don't get me wrong, learning the very basics of business and computers and whatnot. And I understand what the guidance counselor was trying to do, of course. But money should not have been the only long term career objective. He didn't discuss once what I wanted, what my passion was, what would truly make me happy. He basically said my major wasn't worth sh&* and that I should be choosing an area of study that would guarantee me money. Still to this day, I vehemently disagree.
Because I chose passion over money. I chose happiness over financial security. I chose to pursue what my heart was telling me, rather than be complacent in my career.
And so far, it's paid off.
Have I made a TON of money being an English major? No, not quite. But I have found that I am extremely well-versed when it comes to conversation (especially that in the realm of books, authors, literature, etc.). I am the go-to reference for friends and colleagues asking about spelling, grammar, punctuation, and the like. (Note: especially in today's society where everything is abbreviated and emoji'd, I look like freakin' Einstein). I am well-spoken and can write emails and correspondence like it's nobody's business. And last but not least, I am able to travel in an RV and write.....for a living.
Where most people wouldn't be able to utilize their careers on the road, I am in my element. I can pick up freelance work from wherever I am, and work whenever I please. THAT is job security to me. I'm not stuck behind a desk, staring at a computer, wishing I could just be outside. Now, I spend most of my time outdoors, in exploration, constantly seeking new adventures to write about.
And you know what afforded me this beautiful, mesmerizing, envy-worthy, knowledge-inducing, adventurous lifestyle of being a travel blogger? Being an English major.
So, I ask you to dig deep and realize what matters most to you. It may change, with time and circumstances. But at the end of the day, would you rather have a pile of money or a pile of experiences at your feet? Or maybe, just maybe, you can have a little bit of both and live happily ever after.
Leave a comment below and share your thoughts! Would love to open up a dialogue and see how other travel bloggers feel.
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