It’s a story we are told over and over again: we should find our passion, work hard to make it our job, and then “we won’t have to work a day in our lives”. But what if this story is completely wrong?
My passion is to travel. I discovered it in my late teens, back in the mid 2000’s, in a time when, for the most part, travelling wasn’t a job — at least not in my world, in the small Portuguese town where I lived. So, I went on to make something else my job — I got a degree in communications and started working as a journalist. Luckily, my job allowed me to travel a fair bit but the travel itself was never my job, just a very nice perk I always tried to make the most of.
Fast forward to today, travelling sort of became a job. There are more travel writers, bloggers and vloggers than one can ever keep track of. People who get paid to share their experiences of travelling: my dream job — or so I thought.
In the Spring of 2018, I was working as a freelancer. I worked from home and had the freedom of time and space to organize my days as I pleased. At the same time, I increasingly started watching travel vloggers’ videos and, having some video editing skills myself, an idea started to form in my mind…
It took me about a month to make the decision. During that time, I defined the outline of my project: I wanted to go backpack and make videos about the places from the point of view of the locals. At the same time, I wanted to make other videos explaining the whole process of becoming a travel vlogger — something that I felt was missing online.
But I didn’t decide much more. I wanted it to be as spontaneous as possible and I wanted to feel free every day, while I wondered the world with my camera. I booked a one-way ticket from Lisbon to Krakow and off I went.
I was super enthusiastic while making my first videos! I walked the streets of several Polish cities with an eagerness and the kind of happiness you get only when you are making your dreams come true. I talked to locals, asked them for their tips, filmed the places they recommended, tried the foods they suggested.
As I discovered new places through the lens of my camera, I started to notice that the experience was different from other trips I had done, where I travelled just for the sake of travelling. I didn’t decide where to go and what to do based solely on what I felt like. I had to be at certain places at certain times. I had to learn the history of what I was seeing, just so I could explain it on the videos. I was filtering my experience of taking in the places, when my favourite kind of travel had always been the raw exploration of anywhere and everywhere.
But, to my deep disappointment, I came to the realisation that this pillar of myself that I had shaped my identity around was actually… not true.
About a month and a half into my trip, I started to get tired of making videos. For another two weeks, I tried a different format of storytelling, based on my travels but not as exhausting, giving me some more freedom. But it still wasn’t fulfilling. I decided to stop the videos, but I kept travelling for another month.
I had always believed, with the strongest conviction, that I could spend all my life on the road. I love waking up in a different place every day, I am a pro at living out of a backpack, I have no fear of the unknown and heck, I even love 10-hour long bus rides.
But, to my deep disappointment, I came to the realization that this pillar of myself that I had shaped my identity around was actually… not true.
How could it be that I turned my passion into my job, and I was unhappy at work? How could it be that the thing that had always given me the most pleasure in life was actually feeling like “too much” and like I had had enough of it?
After this 3-month long trip, I settled down. In a new city, one that I visited during my travels. It’s been a year now, and I found a job that has absolutely nothing to do with travelling and that, surprisingly, makes me very happy.
I still love to travel, and I do it every time I have a chance. I still love to read about distant places, watch travel vlogs or hear about friends’ travelling stories. My social media feeds are still mostly filled with travel related content. I still find myself looking at the world map for hours at a time. Travelling is still my passion. But I learnt, the hard way, that making your passion into your job takes all the passion away from it. And I don’t want my love for travel to go away — that’s why I will work every day of my life just so I can use every single bit of my free time doing what I love the most.
P.S. — If you want to watch my travel vlog, you can find it one this page: The Incredible Here.