I studied media at university. I know, I know, the most cliche degree out there and I’ve had plenty of stick for it in my time! But I felt this was the path that was going to give me the most direction and opportunity because quite honestly I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life.
I’d always been good at writing, coming up with catchy tag lines and being able to adapt my tone and style quickly. And so after a journalism module that briefly touched on PR (and incidentally revealed I didn’t want to become a journalist) I decided PR was the career I wanted to pursue.
But until 2016, my PR career had consisted of a two-week long university placement at a London fashion agency and what was meant to be a two long week placement at a lifestyle agency in Surrey, but ended after a just a few days because they couldn’t find enough for me to do.
As you can imagine, for someone who wanted to start a career in PR it hadn’t really got off to the best start.
Then in 2016 having not long returned from travelling, I got my lucky break. I joined a PR and communications team for one of the UK’s leading job sites. I had never really thought about recruitment/career advice for PR, but I ended up loving it!
I started as a junior copywriter and was promoted to PR assistant after my first year. Some changes in the team meant it was just me and my manager for a while, so we got to take a really hands on approach to all thing PR and marketing, and it was a serious learning curve for me.
But just months away from my promotion to PR Executive, I decided to hand my notice in. Firstly, because my husband and I had decided we were going to pack up our lives into our camper van and take our life out on the road.
And secondly, because I knew I was going travelling and didn’t want to accept the promotion only to hand my notice in a month later. I respected my team too much.
But this was a super scary decision to make because I had worked hard for over three years and (I feel) I deserved that promotion. But I knew that life on the road was calling and we had been putting it off long enough. It was time to take the leap.
Sure I could have held on for the promotion. I could have stayed another year to save a bit more. We could have rented a place for a while until we felt ready to leave.
There will always be a reason not to go. But as they say, the first step is always the hardest! We began sorting our belongings between our camper van, the charity shop, the bin and the rest ended up in storage.
It was really happening. We had given up the safety of our home, jobs and friends and family in the pursuit of adventure! And so to anyone who is looking for the courage to leave the secure route, wander the path less travelled and follow their dreams whatever they may be, I say this:
- Break it down into small steps
If you’re worried about throwing yourself in head first, then break it down into little steps and celebrate each victory as it comes. Take me for example, handing in my notice was the first step to making my dreams a reality.
- Banish the doubters
Sadly there will always be people who make you feel like you can’t do it. But you can! So banish those doubting voices in your head – especially if one of those voices is your own! Tell yourself you can do it and you can. It’s all about keeping a positive mindset and knowing you are strong enough to achieve anything.
- Speak with those who believe in you
Regularly talk with those who believe in you. Tell them about your plans and get excited about your future. Your friends and family are there to support you, so let them listen from time to time. They’ll be able to give you a bit more encouragement when you can’t find it within yourself.
- Know that it’s going to be OK
As a species we tend to jump immediately to the worst case scenario – apparently it’s our natural fight or flight instinct kicking in. But we’re not out there fighting wild boar anymore and our fight or flight might be a little oversensitive. So reassure yourself that it’s going to be OK. If something goes wrong you can learn from it and move on – it is not the end of the road. So whatever your journey, know that it’s going to be fine.
- Don’t put too much pressure on yourself
Another thing that many of us tend to do is put pressure on ourselves. To be organised, calm, collected, happy and achieving our goals all whilst exercising every day and eating a balanced diet – pah! Life is busy and sometimes it’s tough, so don’t put too much pressure on yourself. If you need to delay your adventure another month, that’s OK too. Just make sure you’re not finding excuses to stay where you are.
- Remember that life is short
This one is a biggy. Probably something you’ve heard a million times, but so rarely we stop to take it in. Me and my husband have lost two important people before their time, and this only spurs us on! While it might feel like a cliche and maybe because these words are so overused they don’t hold much meaning any more. But life is short and when you’re grey and old you’ll only regret the things you didn’t do.
So eat the cake. Take the trip. Quit your job. Choose the path less travelled. And don’t be afraid to do what makes you happy, even if it doesn’t always seem like the most secure or conventional route.
Natashia is a freelance writer and digital nomad, having swapped her 9-5 for a life of travel. She and her husband are exploring the world one country at a time, in their self-built campervan, Stella. Join them on their pursuit for happiness and simplicity by following their blog here larkinaround.co.uk.