Why I Quit My Job as a Travel Writer
Are you confused by the title of this post? I don’t blame you. The decision to quit my job as a writer and assistant editor for an internationally circulated travel magazine was confusing, scary and overwhelming. On paper, it was one of those dreamy looking jobs that every girl with an ounce of wanderlust would kill for.
So why did I quit?!
Let me take you back to 2015. At the end of summer that year, I embarked on a two-week-long adventure in Europe that included an eight-day press tour of Italy. Yep, I got to traipse around the streets of Rome, take a romantic gondola ride in Venice, eat risotto in Milan, and gaze out over the Umbria countryside from my balcony suite in Assisi – all for free. This job is sounding even dreamier, no?
But here’s the thing – 99 percent of the time, my work involved sitting at a desk staring at my computer and researching all of these really cool destinations on Encyclopedia Britannica. That’s right, I was a travel writer giving people tips and inspiring wanderlust … all from an office in downtown Houston. Google Earth became my eyes and Frommer’s my first-hand experiences. The sound of keys clicking replaced the street noise I should have been hearing walking through a crowded market in London and the quiet I should have felt staring up at Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel masterpiece.
That was where I first felt it … the sense that something just didn’t add up. On my second day in Italy, as I sat in silence in the Sistine Chapel soaking in the indescribable artistry I thought of how all the words I had written to illustrate the place could never add up to the feeling of being there, craning my neck to take in every inch with this overwhelming feeling fluttering through my chest and escaping through the tears welling in my eyes.
I could never be a good writer hiding behind the search bar and googling synonyms for “charming,” “historic,” and “beautiful.” I needed to see and feel these things for myself. And then, maybe then, I would have something to share with the world. Something to inspire another girl sitting in office click-clacking away that there is a world beyond the pretty screensaver image. And that if you feel afraid to ask for time off to see that world when you give 150 percent daily, there are other options.
I’m practicing my other option now. A year or so after that epic European adventure, my husband and I were trying to plan a 10-day trip when we realized there was no way I could stretch my vacation days to make it work. I had given three years, countless overtime hours, and endless stress to see my name printed on a byline next to a colorful picture of some sun-soaked island I would never have the time to step foot on.
So, with all the encouragement in the world from my husband and nothing but a freshly purchased domain to my (business) name, I quit my dreamy travel writer job and stepped into the photo.
And Harbors and Havens was born.