“If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.“
What if you don’t know how to build, eh?
I’ve just received the biggest travel opportunity of my life, and I’m gushing with excitement. It was all because of travel blogging. It’s taken years to come to fruition, and it might not seem big compared to others, but it’s big to me. This is how it happened.
To flip that Milton Berle quote on its head with some hippy mumbo-jumbo that I like to live by, if opportunity doesn’t knock, trust the Universe to provide an opportunity. But that doesn’t mean sit around cross-legged chanting Om and waiting for the Universe to drop something into your lap.
The Universe has bigger stuff to worry about, like holding in all this nothingness and keeping our tiny blue ball filled with humans who think they’re the center of IT entertained. Kidding, of course. A motto I always stand by is that if you stay positive, break out of your comfort zone, take chances, and not try to plan out every moment of life — opportunity presents itself.
So am saying that opportunities arise from thin air?
No, not a chance. I will state however that I believe opportunities come about suddenly when you conquer your fears and take a leap of faith into whatever you are deep down passionate about. By escaping the threshold of societal norms and fear of failure, you can actually see opportunities that have been there all along
Sometimes it takes longer.
Sometimes it seems like nothing will ever come about.
Sometimes you question if the undertaking is idiotic and you should have listened to the naysayers.
Trust yourself. Stay positive. Keep moving forward. Something will come. I can attest to this, because I’ve just received the biggest opportunity of my life.
So what the hell is the big news?
I had to build a little suspense. Last month I announced my upcoming travel plans for 2016, much of it is still up in the air. I don’t plan much. Almost never. I roll with the flow and follow random whims. Sometimes it lands me square at a dead-end. Or more likely those times my failure to book a hostel ahead leaves me wandering a city for hours or sleeping on a restaurant porch.
Other times, I have a fateful meeting that leads me to an opportunity like being invited on a week-long outdoors adventure around Italy, or being thrown on a bus around New Zealand to take pictures of a plastic camel in exotic locations. That second one is as true as the first. And I managed to white water raft with a camel, among other activities.
It all comes down to taking a chance and trusting your instinct.
Though I’ve had sponsored trips to various countries that were incredible experiences, none of them have paid me. They paid off in other ways of course, like being able to show you places I thought I’d never even visit like Italy or Aruba, but doing free trips never really solidifies the belief that I can turn my artistic endeavors and passion into a career.
By doing free gigs for years, I’ve built a portfolio and created content on various blogs and it helped lead up to this moment, I’m sure of that, but it’s been exhausting all the same. No money always meant I had to return stateside. And return to waiting tables in the interim. That’s taken the biggest toll.
I’ve felt for a while now that am running in place. That the amount of time I spend blogging isn’t paying off and would’ ever. I get cool little opportunities, but dammit — when do I get a break!
My break just happened. Because of travel blogging for a job based around travel blogging!
A few months back MedSailors contacted me and invited me on a guest blogging trip to Croatia to check out their adventure sailing tours around the Mediterranean. Badass opportunity on its own given I’ve always dreamed of learning to sail. Then, by chance, I saw a job posting on Facebook from MedSailors announcing a job opening for a summer photographer aboard the sailboats.
I thought, hell I’m already over there so you might as well hire me!
In reality I hoped for it. But I was also nervous about applying. If I got a rejection from that, it’d be a punch to the stomach even if it was a random opportunity. I bit my nails and walked in circles and applied. Soon after, the reps got in contact to set up a Skype interview. Again, nail biting and pacing ensued. As much As I like to live by the wing it and see what happens attitude, I still get nervous. Especially about failure.
Even with the fear that they may not choose me, I decided to take the chance.
After the Skype meeting, the reps told me they’d be in contact. The hope was there, and I was pretty damn excited, but I still had to wait.
Now the wait is over.
This summer after my week-long sailing trip exploring Croatia and the Mediterranean on one of their sailboats, I’ll be on a sailboat for 2 months as a paid photographer! Not earth-shattering news for some, but for me it just felt like I took a step forward in my pursuit of a writing and photography career. Someone chose me based on my work, and damn does that feel good!
The Dream Job
Let’s say “job” because though I’ll be paid for this, it’s really a passion of mine. After my week on board a sailboat island hopping on their Discovery Loop from Split (see more info here) and blogging about the experience for you all, I’ll be heading down to Dubrovnik where I’ll be joining the main boat to take photos of the week-long tours that travel from Split to Dubrovnik and back on their Voyager Tour. For 2 months I’ll have a pay check, room and board covered, all the while taking pictures of this incredible country and people enjoying life on the sea. And I get to learn to sail even more! This is all happening at the end of May and going until mid-July.
For months I wondered what I would spend the summer doing lost as to where I should go when the original MedSailors opportunity arose for that week-long trip. Still, I didn’t know my next step, but whether it be fate or the Universe or chance, I scored this job that to me is one of the biggest opportunities of my life. Because it make my passion tangible. And it allows me to travel more of Europe after without the worry of low funds.
It is an opportunity that wouldn’t have come about had I still been in the United States in a stable (but soul-crushing) job instead of pursuing my dream and taking that first plane and that first chance in 2011.