Well Heeled Blog » Save Money, Have Adventures, and Travel the World

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Recession reflections

Even in (or because of?) this recession, I find that among twentysomethings I know, most are less willing to trade adventure / soul-searching for security.

  • Example 1: 25-year-old who quits job with decent pay to travel the world in search of the Next Big Wave.
  • Example 2: 23-year-old who uses layoff from the Big 4 to figure out how to break into acting / entertainment business.
  • Example 3: 27-yeard old quits consulting gig to start a start-up. Went from $100K+ paycheck to ramen noodles – but, he’s living his dream.
  • Example 4: Several quarterlifers living the funemployment life.

In all of these cases, these are high-achieving people in college who went after the big jobs during recruiting. In most cases, having worked for a year or two or three, they have saved up enough to fund their traveling costs or start-up expenses. Self-discovery is a lifelong process, but these twentysomethings are getting a jump start on their roaring twenties.

Money can shackle you or liberate you. It’s gratifying to see them out there, pursuing their dreams and trying to figure out what makes them happy and what gives their lives meaning.

Life’s too short not to.

  • Christine - I’m debating this too — responsible nine-to-fiver or free-spirited world traveller? I don’t think the two need be mutually exclusive. I’m planning on aggressively paying down my debt for the next 2 years, build up some savings and teach english abroad (South Korea apparently pays pretty well).

    I was curious about these twenty-somethings you mentioned, do you have a blog or story link?ReplyCancel

  • Carrie - I wish I could be as “free” as that. :) I think I would have a heart attack if I didn’t have a job, didn’t know where my next paycheck was coming from, etc. etc. But, I guess that makes you a better/stronger (and maybe more interesting?) person.ReplyCancel

  • Mena - I contemplated traveling the world a bit and taking time off from work. I think I will just plan some good vacations using holidays/vacation days.ReplyCancel

  • K. - I know a couple who sold their house and quit their jobs to travel the world. I was equally envious and flabbergasted.

    I’ve been married more than a year, and we want to move closer to our family and friends. But there are no jobs there in what we do, so we continue to work at places that offer us no satisfaction except for a steady paycheck, merely because we’re (maybe more like I’m) scared to death of not having money.

    We had talked to our parents about the idea of us moving closer to them, and they were less than thrilled about it because we didn’t have job prospects. We’re both in newspapers. One of the nearby papers in our destination area closed, and the other big one has implemented major pay cuts and layoffs. Our papers have had problems. Meanwhile, we’re not getting any younger. But I suppose we wouldn’t be happy if we moved somewhere and couldn’t get a job, either.

    I don’t know how people can just up and leave, or change their lives in huge ways. I guess they don’t care what others might think?

    We’re both considering career changes. My husband feels much better about his choice (police work) than I do about mine (accounting). I’m not fully convinced that I’m making the right decision. I might make good money, but that has never been a job requirement for me. Journalism doesn’t make us rich. I’m just really good with the money we bring in. I’m drawn to accounting because it requires accuracy, something on which I’m extremely focused in my current job, and good communication skills – both things that I feel are lacking in present-day journalism. I can crunch numbers. But I want to love my next career, and I don’t know if I can. How does one make peace with the idea of a job just being a job?

    If I did what I really wanted to do, I probably would go to grad school and shift my focus back toward writing and reporting (I’ve been an editor since graduation) or new media, or get into elementary school teaching. But the last thing I want is get out of school and have tons of debt and make less than what I do now.

    I’m sorry this is long. A lot of my friends or co-workers would love to drop everything to be musicians or Broadway actors or stand-up comics or to travel the world. I just want a job I like (love?) in a place where my husband and I want to live.ReplyCancel

  • Mikala - Wow, K’s comments really hit me.
    “I don’t know how people can just up and leave, or change their lives in huge ways. I guess they don’t care what others might think?”
    Firstly, Oh My Goodness, who cares what others think? I’m pretty sure they don’t care what you think about them! Secondly, If you want a positive example of people who gave up their lives to do their own thing, try reading the Our Odyssey blog.

    “How does one make peace with the idea of a job just being a job?”
    I think this is fairly easily achieved by choosing to be okay with it, and having things outside of work that really make you look forward to heading out of the cubicle each day. Cubicle life = happiness? I don’t think so!

    “If I did what I really wanted to do, I probably would go to grad school and shift my focus back toward writing and reporting.”
    It seems to me you already have these skills if you have been editing!! As a freelance writer, you could be totally in control of your own income, working as hard as you want, and making as much as you want. Have you read some of the excellent blogs, especially the Renegade Writer, and Freelance Switch? They are beyond awesome!

    I hope you find what you are looking for, and that you can discover that happiness comes from within. The greatest luxury and happiness in my life is to be in the arms of my husband. I wish you equal joy!


  • wellheeled - Hi Christine – all these 20somethings I mentioned are people I know in real life!

    As for article links, here are an article on “funemployment”: http://www.sfweekly.com/2009-06-03/news/funemployment/ReplyCancel

  • wellheeled - I know – I’d be pretty scared too if I didn’t have money coming in. But as scared as I’d be now, I also know I’d be MUCH less scared now than I would be in my 30s or 40s with a family who depends on me (and my income).ReplyCancel

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