My Career Or My Adventures: Why Do I Have To Choose?

When I graduated from college, I hadn’t traveled… anywhere.

I also had no idea how to break into the media industry to start my chosen career.

I was frozen in fear for a month or two, trying to figure out which path to take. It seemed whatever I chose, I’d be missing out on another opportunity.

Within a month or so, with the strong urging of my parents, my career path won out. I started interning full-time, taking no vacation in-between opportunities. I was afraid taking time off would derail my progress.

After almost two years of working my ass off, I got my big break. After settling in, I took my first real vacation.

That’s when the travel bug hit me. Big time.

Since that first trip, I’ve taken at least three vacations every single year. I’ve traveled to cities both national and international; I've FINALLY had the adventure I’ve always craved. Not to mention, my career has not suffered as a result.

Now that I’m far removed from graduation, I realize I don’t have to choose between my career and my adventures. One feeds the other.

My career makes me independent, but my adventures make me well-rounded.

My career gives me an innate sense of confidence.

It’s incredibly empowering to know I can take care of myself without the help of my parents or a significant other. It’s offered me an upgraded self-esteem I never had in high school or college.

When I walk into the office, I know I am respected. I am contributing to something bigger than myself.

But my adventures are even bigger than the four walls of my office. They offer me a totally different perspective. They require me to exercise a different part of my brain.

When I come back from a trip, I feel like a new woman after immersing myself in alien surroundings.

My adventures make me a complete person.

My career keeps me grounded, but my adventures keep me curious.

My career gives me roots. My life is built around my career, in the sense that my job dictates where I live and the people I see 40 hours a week. It offers me real responsibility and a group of people counting on me.

But the routine of a career also inevitably gets stale.

My adventures add variety to my life. They inspire curiosity about the world around me. They keep me on my toes when I have to find my way to a new destination.

My adventures remind me to always seek and question things.

My career bonds me to my coworkers, but my adventures bond me with strangers.

Some of the best friends I’ve made in my 20s are people I’ve met through work.

Crazy and demanding bosses, terrible clients, long hours – it’s all natural fodder for the foundation of friendship. It serves as common ground, along with our similar interests and geographic location.

One of the biggest perks of my career has been the amazing people I’ve met along the way.

The people I’ve met in my adventures are people with which I have no common ground. We would never have met if I hadn’t gotten out of my comfort zone. They're just as important to me as the people I see every day.

The people I meet on my adventures are complete strangers, and yet, they are front and center in some of my greatest memories. They are in the DNA of my vacations in the same way as an amazing meal or beautiful landmark.

My career fills my bank account, but my adventures fill my soul.

Simply put, I like my job, but I also need my job.

I’m not independently wealthy. I have to worry about making rent and paying for groceries. I need my career to fund my life.

I also wouldn’t have a catalog of adventures if it weren’t for my career.

I love my job and my everyday life, but sometimes, that love can get lost in the monotony of routine. I need to hit pause every once in a while so I can appreciate the beauty of it all.

When I travel, I come back appreciative and rejuvenated. Space helps me see things more clearly. I miss my friends, my coworkers and even my responsibility.

At 22, I thought career and adventure were mutually exclusive. I thought that by not traveling after graduation, I might have missed the metaphorical boat of adventure.

Now, I see I can’t have one without the other, and the balance is what makes me the person I am.

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