Sep 12, 2012

Posted by in Blog, Personal | 19 Comments

Why I’m SO Excited… And Pretty F-ing Terrified

As the season winds to a close here in Southeast Alaska, I am more and more often getting that question that is perpetually posed to the seasonal worker.

“What are you doing next?”

Gate to downtown Breckenridge, CO

Where to?

I’m about three weeks away from the end of my work at the sea kayaking company. At this point in seasons prior, I’ve always known what my next step is. This time, I don’t.

As things progress with this blog, and with another freelance writing job, some doors are being closed, while others are being opened.

I looked into volunteering at a jungle school in Guatemala. It looked fabulous, but had no internet access. Cross that off the list.

I also can’t go back to Breckenridge, CO, where I lived for 2.5 glorious, “first chair, last call” years. Because there, I can’t earn enough money working 40 hours/week to support myself. I’d have to go back to 60+ hour weeks, and I can’t do that and still maintain my online work.  

Working at a ski shop in Breckenridge, CO

Check out my sweet uniform! And those sweet skis!

But that’s okay. Because what I can do is more important.

I can drive around visiting friends, while earning enough online to cover my gas money. I can stay at home with my parents for a few weeks in our podunk town, because even though we don’t have a Taco Bell or a high-school football team, we do have high-speed internet.

So, what are my fall plans? I’m not sure yet.

I know I’ll be visiting my grandpa in San Diego on my way back east from Alaska. I also know I’ll be spending some time in New York with my family. And going to a Michigan football game to see my future ex-husband Denard Robinson play. I’ll also be visiting lots of friends and, for the love of sunshine, going to a concert. (Shockingly, Ketchikan is not a popular stop on the electronic music circuit.)

Girls in jerseys at a Michigan football game

Big House. Senior year. My roomie and me in our baller seats.

There’s not a whole lot I love more than fall in the northeast and midwest, and I’m really looking forward to taking some time to enjoy it. Leaves, football, cider, pumpkins, and donuts — sign me up!

After that, the plan becomes a little more vague. Since I won’t be working at a traditional job anymore, I know I want to (read: have to or I won’t eat) devote some solid time into expanding this blog and starting a few other online projects.

I also know I will be hankering for some sun, and the northeast just ain’t gonna cut it. You know what sounds good?

Winter in South or Central America!

Eating plantains and rice in Nicaragua

I'll be enjoying plantains, rice, and Fanta before we know it!

It has long been a goal of mine to speak better Spanish. It is such a fun language (c’mon, what other language can you say “sauerkraut” in and feel sexy? it’s chucruta, btw) and one that is very useful to know, especially as an American.

I also miss working with kids, so I’d love to find a volunteer program down there. Spanish, sun, kids, and beans and rice — sounds like a pretty good winter plan to me.

And the best part about it?

I will be earning enough money to support myself down there, via this blog and other freelance work. Just a few months ago, that wouldn’t have been possible. I would’ve had to use up all my savings for a few-month jaunt without work. If I’m volunteering, I won’t be saving any money, but I will be sustaining myself from online work. 

I’m going to say that again: I will be sustaining myself from online work.

How exciting is that?! Five years ago, I wouldn’t have ever thought that was possible; even a year ago, the idea would’ve seem incredibly far fetched. It has taken a lot of hard work and wayyy too much time staring at my computer, but it’s SO worth it. 

Enjoying cider and donuts in Dexter, MI

I'll cheers my cider and donut to that!

I’m not gonna lie; it is somewhat terrifying that I don’t have a traditional job planned in the foreseeable future. This is the first time since turning 14 that I have left a job without having another one lined up.

I’m confident, however, that the more I put into this blog and into freelance work, that the more return I will get. I’m taking a gamble, but I’m betting that it’s going to pay off.

The feeling that I can go anywhere (well, anywhere a beer costs 50 cents and rent is $100/month) and support myself is absolute magic, and I’m still trying to come to terms with it.

And for that, I want to thank you.

Jumping on the beach in Costa Rica

This is how it makes me feel!

Thanks for reading, and sharing. Thanks for liking me on Facebook, following me on Twitter, and telling your friends about this blog. Thanks for your comments, emails, and radio shout-outs (okay, nobody’s given me a radio shout-out, but a girl can dream – right?). 

Without your support, all of my hard work would be for nothing. I feel really lucky to be where I am and know I couldn’t have done it without you. MUCHAS GRACIAS. (And realize that if I can do this — you can, too! Questions? I’m just an email away.)

So, the next time somebody asks me what I’m doing next, it’s going to be with a thrill and a smile that I say, “I’m not sure. Got any ideas?”

Have you ever taken a gamble like this? Did it pay off? Let me know!

  1. I am so jealous, of course, in a really good way! I love that you have the chance to go off and try something new and yes, it’s scary, but in an amazing way. Good luck!
    Marian recently posted..Living Live Without RegretMy Profile

  2. You go girl! I wish you nothing but the best of luck. I really admire you for not taking the conventional route of a “9-5″ job. Can’t wait to see your updates!

  3. Nice post Susan! I can emphathize with you having just quit my job, started travelling full time, and blogging along the way! just look at it as exciting that the future is wide open for you :)

  4. Go girl! Central America is always a good idea!
    Ava Apollo recently posted..Burning Man – The Experience of a LifetimeMy Profile

  5. Congratulations Susan! I’m excited for you!

    Hey, if you want to swing by Vancouver on your way from Alaska to San Diego, you’ve got a place to stay!
    Julie – The Fairy Trails recently posted..Wandering Kensington Market in TorontoMy Profile

    • Thanks, Julie! Unfortunately, I’m flying from AK to SD, so no Vancouver for me this time. Thanks though — hopefully I’ll get to take you up on your offer soon!

  6. Your plans and lack of plans sound very exciting. It’s wonderful that you can support yourself this way. I’d love to hear more details on that. Meanwhile, every time I read your posts it takes me back to the time that I lived in Juneau. I loved it there. Wonderful memories.
    Juliann recently posted..Beer, Beer, Thank God for BeerMy Profile

    • Thanks, Juliann! I definitely will miss Alaska — it’s beautiful up here. Though I’m at a “sustaining” point right now, I’m still working out the kinks in supporting myself online. Maybe once I nail it down, I’ll write a post on it!

  7. Love it! And it will all work out as it always does :) A little bit over a year ago I quit my job that made me unhappy and I’ve basically been traveling ever since. Here’s my blog post about this subject: http://createyourwonderworld.com/?p=91. I’ve now changed careers and am traveling all the time so living my dreams. Thanks for your post and writing on this fun topic!

  8. Yay and awesome for you!! I hope to be there in a year!
    Christina recently posted..London: Where History and Architecture MeetMy Profile

  9. Congrats to you for getting to a point where you are self sustainable from online work :D. I’m sure everything is going to turn out great for you :D

    I’m also in position of for the first time ever not having another job lined up. I don’t have sustainable income like you but maybe one day :). Thanks for the inspiration, its great to hear stories of people who have made it to point of being able to sustain themselves online.

    You never know I might see you down in Latin America ;) Seeing as ill be down there for 6 months or so or until my money runs out haha :D
    Brendon of Nerd Travels recently posted..What To Pack For A 6 Month Backpacking Adventure In Latin America.My Profile

    • Hi Brendon! Thanks so much for stopping by, and for your words of encouragement. Congrats to YOU for not having another job lined up and for going and traveling down in Latin America. I’ll be in Nicaragua soon — let me know if you make it that way!

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