Travel vs. Vacation: My Aspirations to Travel for a Living

After a beautiful 10 day expedition in Quintana Roo, Mexico

which began in Cancún and ended in Cozumel (well, technically started and ended in Arizona), I realized that I had actually taken my boyfriend on a vacation we couldn’t afford, nor were prepared for. Thinking I had found a great deal on Cyber Monday, I had bought the tickets on a financial whim. (Spoiler Alert: It was not actually a great deal, it was a Spirit Airlines deal aka a terrible flying experience not worth the deal)

Regardless, we were in paradise and on our first international adventure together! Mexico was enthralling, full of friendly people and excellent food…The problem was I had planned a trip to a huge vacation destination for many Americans, Mexicans and foreigners alike and we were, well, not on a vacation budget.

Cancún is the leading tourism hub for Mexico and rightly-so with its perfect temperatures, pristine beaches and hospitable Mexican culture. I fell in love. Isla Mujeres, Playa del Carmen and Cozumel had similar vibes as they are all perfectly located within 100 km of each other along the Caribbean Sea. This was our life for 10 days:

Wake up. Beach. Tacos. Beach. Explore. Guacamole. Cerveza. Swim. Cerveza. Tacos. Explore. Cerveza. Sleep.

If you don’t believe me, watch this overview of our first few days In Mexico.

Sounds like vacation, right? We were definitely living it up and it was great, but this wasn’t why I went to Mexico. I wanted adventure… authentic, non-commercialized adventure. Don’t get me wrong, we stayed in hostels and used public transportation (went to the gym twice) , but it’s difficult to travel economically when you’re in the middle of urban tourism.

I want to travel, not vacation. Not to say there is anything wrong with vacationing and tourism, but I haven’t earned a vacation yet! I am only 23 years old and have many more years before I have worked hard enough to deserve a “holiday”.

It almost felt guilty to be laying on the beach in Mexico with a Corona in hand. The people to my lounge-chair’s left and right were talking about their children and jobs back home and I’m over here like, “No, it’s not our honeymoon. Oh, my boyfriend and I are here for fun.”

I want to travel for a living. Yet, I don’t want to travel the way “travel influencers” make it look on Instagram. I don’t want to take the same ol’, done-a-thousand-times-over, fedora hat and curled hair, looking out over the scenic-city selfie. (You know exactly what I’m talking about)

Most travel influencers are amazing, strong, brave women that have paved the road for future generations of travelers. They are personal role-models for me actually, so I don’t mean to sound critical. However, I know there is more out there than the “perfect shot”. There are people to meet, languages to learn, adventure to be had, things that just cannot be captured by a camera. I want my soul to travel.

If I could be the millennial version of Anthony Bourdain meets Calamity Jane, my life would be complete. I love fashion, but I’m also practical and if I’m going to trek all over the country, you best believe I’ll be wearing appropriate footwear and not some Steve Madden sandals.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I am on a mission, a Calamity Bourdain mission if you will. I want to see the world from the highest peaks, the locals perspective and the explorers eye.

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