Desks Versus Airplanes: Why I Chose Career Over Travel


Lately all I seem to see (or pay attention to) on what I like to call my life dashboard is the generational conversation about “what to do with our lives.” I graduated college in May 2014, and shortly after making my own decision on “what to do” I started checking out everyone else.

First of all, that was a big mistake. Because comparing oneself to another is so problematic and we miss A LOT of the pieces that create the full story. On instagram we see a pretty sunset while someone is on vacation, but would they instagram their bubbling sun poisoning? Probably not. On Facebook, people post their favorite and most boastful life events. Rarely people announce breakups or diarrhea spells. I’ll come back to this later.

But yes, we’ve graduated; we’ve entered the glorious real world that we hear about through media and our elders. And its funny, because once you get that diploma, you don’t enter this new world where everything becomes so much more real and lifelike. In fact, I could argue that I’ve noticed a lot more fakeness post gradation, mainly from my peers trying to tell me how happy and secure they feel. Let’s get real!

That’s where we get to the Desks vs. Airplanes debate. You now have a clean slate, degree in hand, and have gone through roughly 17 years of schooling. It is expected that you get a job and then work your way up in your career. However, a very common trend has been traveling, backpacking, volunteering abroad, etc. People have always traveled and yes, that is some people’s lives, but it seems as if it is becoming way more accepted and glorified. I’d thank social media and photo filters for that.

So, I work at a desk. I’m actually working right now (sorry, Boss!) I was so excited and proud when I got a job shortly after graduating. I heard how hard it is in today’s market and I got lucky, I got a salary, and then I got jealous. I noticed that a good deal of my friends and peers were posting pic’s of their neatly packed suitcases, plane tickets, and plans for “2015”. They were/are taking the year off to travel while I accrue a half day per month and commute 1 hour a day from my parents house. I have an existential crisis roughly 5 times per day and stay up at night thinking, “Well I’m still young, there is still time to change my mind and not have a career”. I had friends post instagram pictures with captions like “I’ll never be in an office” or “Careers are 20th century inventions”, ect. Ect. I would get so jealous some days seeing my friends on the beach somewhere while I was sending e-mails to 60-year-old clients. And then one day it hit me.

I like working. I always have. I feel as if I have a purpose when working and I enjoy accomplishing tasks throughout the day. It makes me more productive in other aspects of my life and not to mention a bi-weekly paycheck doesn’t suck. You can fulfill and nurture your passions at a desk too. You can have some of the most creative and fruitful careers at a desk! Just because it doesn’t make a pretty photo, doesn’t mean you aren’t accomplishing great things. I love traveling and If I had unlimited funds, trust me, I would be on that plane. But I value responsibility and I don’t want to rely on my parents. I will travel, but I will pay for it and do it when the time is right (and when I do accrue those days off). I honestly don’t know what I would do with my life if I didn’t work! Free time is so much sweeter when its limited, and I sure as hell take advantage of that. I think what’s most important is to stop listening to everybody. See through the instragrams. Just listen to yourself, even if others are calling you mediocre.

So, lets get back to comparing. See what I did there? I tricked you with the title by comparing two different things, you probably thought this article was going to talk about how to ditch the desk, and hop on the airplane. But listen, you can do both. You’ll have to learn to juggle, learn to save but ultimately it’s in your hands! Haven’t you ever heard of “Work hard, play hard?”

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