A few weeks ago, I explained my absence to you — I told you about the bad dream that has consumed my every day for the past 84 days.
Despite the grief, though, life has continued. It has a way of doing that. And not all of it has been bad; in fact, some of it has been very good.
What I’m about to say will probably surprise you. It sure surprised me.
I got a job.
For most people, that sentence would sound normal coming out of their mouth. But for me — someone who’s prided herself on being her own boss and setting her own schedule and traveling whenever and wherever she wants — it sounds insane.
And when you consider the fact the job is in an office, in FLORIDA, it sounds even crazier. I’m still not accustomed to the idea… and I started two months ago.
What am I doing? Writing full-time for The Penny Hoarder.
Why’d I do it? Keep reading.
Feeling the Burn(out)
When I returned from New Zealand and Bali, I was tired. For the first time, I felt burnt out in my biz.
Looking back through my calendar, I realized why: I’d been on the road for more than half of 2015. It wasn’t really the travel, though, that was tiring me; it was the maintenance of my business while I traveled.
Had I been running my business from one place, or traveling without running a business, I knew I wouldn’t have felt like this.
I’d done both separately before — but my business had grown. I was in a stop/start cycle of working all hours of the day, almost getting caught up, and then jumping on a plane and falling behind again. I wasn’t posting on this blog because I was drowning in client work.
I felt like I was treading water — like I’d never get ahead.
And as I’d decided back in early 2015, I wanted to just write. I wanted to be free of the content marketing work. The problem? It paid the majority of my bills. And I couldn’t free up bandwidth for more writing work until I dropped the content marketing gigs. It was a catch-22 many digital entrepreneurs are all too familiar with.
But still, I kept going; I didn’t have the time or mental space to do anything else. My reality check, unsurprisingly, came while on a plane.
I’d been engrossed, working on my laptop, when I looked up and realized I didn’t know where I was going, or where I was coming from.
When you love traveling as much as I do, you want it to feel special. You want to feel completely consumed by the excited anticipation of a new place. You want to absorb everything: the minute details, the chance conversations, the unexpected pastries.
In that moment, it was clear I had lost something — something important. And if I wanted that feeling (and my sanity) back, I needed to change things up.
So that’s where I was when Alexis Grant, the badass I owe my entire online career to, called me up. She’d sold her content marketing firm and was going in-house as the executive editor of The Penny Hoarder. And she wanted me to come with her.
My heart immediately leapt. This was it: the opportunity I didn’t know I needed. I trust Lexi fully, and if she vouches for something, I believe her. I’d been freelancing for The Penny Hoarder for a year, and I knew I liked its founder and its content.
Then, she dropped the bomb: they wanted to build the team in person. In Florida.
My first reaction? Fuck no. (Thankfully, I said that in my brain and not with my mouth.) But I told her I appreciated the offer, which I did — and that I’d think about it, which I did.
I thought about it. And talked about it. (Bob was the first person I called; he was totally supportive.) And thought about it some more. The more I did, the more I found myself leaning towards it. No one was more surprised than myself.
I worked so hard to build my business and create this lifestyle — it was tough to imagine giving it up.
Was this travel blogger, this champion of seasonal jobs and location independence, this digital nomad really considering taking a 9-to-5?
Yes. It seemed like such a good fit. It was a flexible, fun, and innovative environment. It meant I could leave marketing, write full-time, and work with people I respected. I could — maybe, possibly, once I figured out what they were — have hobbies! I could enjoy myself when I did travel, rather than constantly worry about work.
Of course, I was terrified of losing my freedom. I was terrified of not being able to travel as much as I wanted to. And if I’m being honest, I was terrified of what people would think.
But I’m all about new experiences, whether they’re new cultures, new heights, or new friends. I’ve always said yes more than no, and I figured this was one thing I hadn’t tried.
So I did what I would tell any of you to do: I took the leap. Right after Labor Day, I moved to Saint Petersburg, Florida.
What This Means for the Blog
Am I done traveling? Am I no longer a travel blogger? Am I going to become a “consultant,” dress in suits every day, and never see the sunlight again? No, no, and NO.
1. I will still travel. I am a traveler, and always will be. I have a decent amount of paid vacation (paid?! what is that?) and can work remotely one day a week. I’m already eyeing a couple international destinations and have traveled four of the eight weekends I’ve been here… which I’m guessing is a good sign my wanderlust ain’t dead yet.
2. I’m still a travel blogger. I am a blogger who travels, so even though I’m more “settled” than I have been for the past eight years, I still consider myself a member of the club. Not only that, but even if I never left my street again, I’d have enough stories to blog for several years to come.
3. A. I don’t know what consultants do. B. I think suits are awkward. And C. Not even Edward Cullen could tempt me into that existence.
As I said when I changed my domain name, this blog is me, and it will morph as I do. I will still talk mostly about traveling — and will always be here for you as a resource — but I’ll also write about grief, and life, and of course, goats.
I strongly believe this radical change will provide new insights — insights that allow me to serve you better. How, after all, can I espouse life from the road when I really haven’t known the opposite? How can I champion one flavor when I’ve never tasted the others?
The cookie has crumbled in some very unexpected ways the past few months, and truthfully, I have no idea where this path will lead. But, being a traveler at heart, I am looking forward to the journey. I hope you are, too.
Are you surprised? Anything you’d like to see me cover (or not cover!) on this blog in the future?