I am doing the unthinkable.
Well, that’s a little dramatic. But I am taking a huge risk, one that many people, including my parents, think I’m insane for taking.
Today, I put my two weeks notice in at work — without a new job offer. I rented a uHaul, reserved a storage unit and began to list all my furniture on Craigslist. I organized a goodbye party with friends, booked a Zipcar for a donation trip to Goodwill, and began taping up boxes.
As a Northeastern University graduate, I was driven toward career goals from the moment I stepped onto campus at age 18. Completing 3 co-ops and watching older classmates graduate to secure jobs in our field, Northeastern students are compelled to do the same — searching for employment the second we begin our senior years, ensuring that when we walk out of Boston’s TD Bank North Garden on the first Friday of May, we have a solidified answer to the dreaded “what are you doing after graduation?” question we all came to despise during our last semester.
And as a class of 2011 graduate, I did just that. A month before graduation, I secured two jobs — both of which were at companies where I had co-oped. I joined the working world three weeks after graduation. Don’t get me wrong, I’m so thankful. I can’t tell you how many people I know who are my age, or older, frantically searching for jobs, especially in the journalism industry. And here I am, giving up two of them.
TechTarget has been an incredible working environment for me to learn and grow. My time there taught me what I am passionate about, where I really see myself in 5 years, and that, most importantly, I still have a lot to learn. I acquired valuable online media and journalism skills that will serve me well in my career, and I formed friendships and working relationships with dozens of wonderful people.
Blogging for Boston.com as a nightlife writer has been, literally, a dream come true. I have the city of Boston at my fingertips, have had the opportunity to connect with some truly incredible people, and a perfect excuse to spend multiple nights a week out on the town. There are billions of young, aspirational bloggers out there, putting their posts onto the interwebs, but I was lucky enough to have Boston.com in my URL, and to have weeks where some of my posts saw upwards of 10,000 visits.
So why give that up?
At nearly 24 years old, I have the travel bug. I want to get out, I want to see the world. Upon moving across the country in 2006, I’ve strived to ensure that I have lived my life with no regrets, but one of my biggest thus far is not studying abroad for a full semester while I was in college.
Alison, one of my best friends from high school, has been living in South America for the past year and a half, and has decided she wants to spend a month traveling in the southern hemisphere before moving back to the US. The cards fell into place and I couldn’t resist. Did I mention she speaks fluent Spanish?
So after much debate and contemplation, and a few tears, I’ve decided to take the jump. On May 20, I’m flying down to Santiago, Chile to explore her new hometown. From there, we will be traveling through Argentina for 3 weeks. She has a trip planned with her parents at the end of June, so we’ll part ways and I’ll spend 10 days in Peru (in Lima, Cuzco and at Machu Picchu) before I fly back home to Los Angeles. I’ll spend a few weeks at home in LA, possibly do a mini west coast road trip with a friend from college, then fly back east to New York City, which I’ve officially decided will be my next home base.
I’m nervous. Actually, to tell the truth, I’m terrified. All I can think is “What if I’m destined to be unemployed for the rest of my life?” But I know that’s not true. And, more than anything, I’m excited. I can’t wait to travel in South America, in countries that I know close to nothing about. I’m excited to experience the culture, to be immersed in Spanish, to actually see Buenos Aires and Iguazu Falls in person, and not just in photographs. No one I know has ever said they regret taking time off to travel, and that’s exactly what I plan to do. Take in the world, learn to live out of a very small suitcase for a month (that will be the real challenge), and learn that much more about myself.
Of course, I’ll be blogging the entire adventure, so be sure to check back here for posts, pictures, and updates of my travels. I’ll leave you with some inspiration:
”You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.” — Steve Jobs