I love it when I hear from other bloggers who want to write about their journey toward making their dream life happen. Every time I read their stories, I’m inspired anew. Today, I introduce you to Sofie from Wonderful Wanderings – I’m sure you’ll enjoy her inspirational message about jumping in with both feet even if you aren’t “ready.”
Some people are born with a good dose of confidence, but most of us have to go get it somewhere. Me, I got confidence out of traveling.
When what you want isn’t really what you want
Ever since I went to high school I knew that I wanted to do ‘something with language’. Mathematics, physics and chemistry clearly weren’t my thing, while I could easily write an essay or two in a couple of hours.
When the time had come to decide what I’d study after high school, Literature and Linguistics seemed the most logical move. I obtained my bachelor’s and master’s degree without much difficulty, but after those four years I still didn’t feel ready to start working.
You see, I’d loved analyzing books and learning the intricacies of Dutch and Spanish, but I didn’t feel like my studies had brought me any closer to ‘real life’. So I took on another master, in Cultural Management this time. Although I had a great year and I got the degree, it didn’t take me long to realize that I actually didn’t want to work in ‘the cultural field’ at all.
Somehow, ever since I’d started my first year as a bachelor student, I’d felt that that was what I was supposed to do. I loved books, I loved literature, I went to the theatre and the idea of visiting a museum didn’t bore the hell out of me. Aiming for a career in the cultural field was only logical, no?
Little did I realize that the most logical thing to do isn’t always the right thing to do.
I’m Sofie and I’m a recovering chicken
You’d think that at that point, having graduated but still with no real obligations or responsibilities, I would have taken some action to find out what it was that I really wanted to do.
I’d love to tell you that I took a sabbatical to figure things out, tried different jobs, or that I went traveling for a year to find myself.
But I can’t, because I didn’t.
I was still a chicken.
I say ‘still’ because I’d actually already gotten the opportunity to test myself when I was still studying. European students can participate in the Erasmus exchange program when they’re in their third year of higher education to go study somewhere abroad for four months.
I hadn’t signed up for that.
Of course I had ample reasons: I had a good relationship that I didn’t want to risk, the level at the universities I could attend abroad wasn’t as high as in Belgium …
But the true reason is that I was a chicken.
At that moment in my life where I needed to get out into the world and discover, not only the world but also myself, I didn’t.
I know I wasn’t ready for it then, but maybe I didn’t have to be. Maybe the experience itself would have made me ready and it would have showed me that I there were plenty of other courses I could take, that I didn’t absolutely need to become a master in Western Literature and that I certainly didn’t need another master in Cultural Management.
Finally finding my way…
Fast forward again. I found a job at a press agency within days after I started looking for work. A press agency, sounds cool, doesn’t it? Well, I got to research and I got to write, a lot, but still I wasn’t content. There was something missing.
And then I went to Dusseldorf. It was just a one-day trip with my dad. We wandered through the city, discovered some cool places and took some photos. Normal stuff that you do on a day trip. And yet…
I’d been looking for a way to do more writing for myself for a while when we left on that trip, but I just couldn’t figure out the how, where and what. After Dusseldorf it all came together. When I was telling my friends and family about our day and describing the places we’d been to, I knew what I wanted to do. I wanted to start a travel blog.
It took me another month of researching and preparing content before I took the leap, but on August 13, 2012 I published my very first blog post. Nothing more than a simple “Hello”, but something was set in motion.
I spent hours in front of my laptop, learning about all things blogging, online writing and, after a while, also about online money making. I knew this was what I wanted to do. This was what I wanted to get good at. I would make it work.
And you know what? With every trip I made, that conviction grew. I met people whose views on life encouraged me to go on. I had to face challenges I’d never face back at home and I overcame them.
After a while I realized that I wasn’t the same person when I was traveling. I was a more courageous person. Someone who was more open, stressed less and went to dinner with strangers.
I decided that that’s who I always wanted to be.
… and making it happen
Now, more than one year after I published my first post, I’ve done things I didn’t think possible when I first started out.
Mind you, I’m not a big blogger yet. I don’t have ten thousands of followers and hundreds of email subscribers, but people comment, like and follow and they email me when they think that I can help them.
That is, after all, the goal of Wonderful Wanderings: to help people plan their own wonderful getaway.
And now I’m taking it even a step further. As of January 1 I’m officially a freelancer.
That’s right. I’m ready to take my writing to the next level. I know that I still have a lot to learn and I realize that I could fail miserably, but if I start now and things don’t work out, I’ll still have plenty of time to get up, learn from my mistakes and try again.
I don’t want to wait until I’ve only got time left for one shot.
If this is what I want to do, then why not do it now?
Sofie is a Belgian language lover and travel aficionada who combines a full-time job with a never-ending wanderlust and an upcoming freelance business. She uses her weekends, vacation days and public holidays to travel the world and share her experiences with you on wonderfulwanderings.com. Be sure to follow her on Twitter and Facebook.