Over the summer, I spoke on a panel at Hostelling International Boston – “Travel as A Young Professional” – about how to balance traveling with building a career. I asked my three fellow panelists – all incredibly inspiring and accomplished professionals much younger than me! – to share their top three tips on how they’ve done it, and “creative entrepreneur” Anita Wing Lee provided some advice that is sure to inspire professionals of all ages.
1. If your soul is telling you to travel, you need to do it.
This means there are things you will learn out on the road that you cannot learn anywhere else. That call to adventure is like a seed inside of you that is bursting to grow and learn. Your job in life is to unleash this passion and energy, no matter what. How? Start small. You don’t have to quit your job and become a wandering artist. Start with a trip that feels easy and doable.
My first time traveling solo, I went to Italy to teach English. I was pretty clear that I did not want to spend my life teaching English, but it was a stepping stone for me. The following summer I ended up backpacking East Africa by myself. I would never have had the courage to do that, if I hadn’t first experienced the safer travel environment of living with host families while teaching in Italy.
2. Don’t worry about your resume.
Put your personal growth and development first and your “perfect” resume will come afterwards. The first few times I traveled solo during my undergrad, I kept wondering, “Who is going to hire this girl with so many random, eclectic experiences abroad?” It turned out that each experience abroad was exactly what qualified me for the next.
For example, after Italy, I was accepted to an international teaching project where I coached youth
entrepreneurs in Eastern Europe and Africa. That lead to another job where I was helping to start up a social enterprise in East Africa. In the end, all of my experiences created the perfect path to what I am blessed to do now as a life coach and creative entrepreneur. Trust that when you invest in experiences that feel like growth to your soul, the path will be made clear. All of your travel experiences will actually make you uniquely qualified to live your life purpose.
3. Choose your own priorities.
Be wary of buying into other people’s versions of success. Get clear on the lifestyle you want, the work you want to be doing, where you want to be doing it and how often you want to travel. If we do not create our own priorities, we’ll end up co-opting other people’s values which might not be our own.
Once I discovered the world of online business, there was no going back. I always knew that I wanted a career where I could travel often and have physical freedom. When I graduated university and started my business, most of my classmates were landing corporate jobs. Even though that steady income would have been nice, I knew that I wanted to build a business and a life where I could work from anywhere, and I stuck to that vision. I created my own path. I didn’t just follow what other people were doing. As a result, now I am blessed to have a business that I can run virtually and do what I love.
Anita Wing Lee is a transformational life coach, award-winning speaker, world traveller, and spiritual mentor. Since 2011, she landed multiple, epic travel gigs that paid for her travels to 21 countries in Europe, Asia and Africa, and she now empowers others to get paid to travel and expand their horizons. She is a prolific broadcaster on Periscope and is founder of #GlobalMeditationScope, Periscope’s first and largest creative meditation movement.