In March of 2018, I was scrolling through Facebook and saw an article about this ‘Travel Dream Job’ contest that a large company was running. Intrigued, I clicked on the article and found that it was super easy to enter – just 250 words about how I live my “Best Life”, a photo of me, and a link to my Instagram feed. I clicked submit and didn’t think about it again…
Until June, when I received an email from the company while I was on a family vacation at the beach. The email explained that I had been chosen as one of the top five finalists for the contest. At first, I didn’t remember entering, but it slowly came back to me. I shared the news and read more deeply into the details of the contest, which made me started getting really excited. “Could this really happen?”, “this would honestly be life-changing ” I thought to myself.
Next step was a Skype interview, which was scheduled for the following week. I was on the call with a few marketing people and then some reps from the company itself and I basically reiterated what I had said in those 250 words. The gist of it was that a lot of my friends went the 9-5 route straight out of college. However, that wasn’t for me. I always wanted to live on my own terms, and I think it’s crazy we work the majority of our lives – that should be reversed. I love traveling because meeting new people, exploring new places, and experiencing different cultures is what makes me feel alive.
After the interview, I eagerly awaited hearing back. However, I was trying to prepare myself for not winning because I didn’t want to get my hopes up and then get a major let down. However, I awoke one of the following mornings to check my email and saw “Congratulations” as the subject line of an email from the company.
I couldn’t believe it. I remember staring at myself in the mirror and thinking, “is this really happening?” It seemed way to good to be true. This company was going to give me a ton of money to travel, pursue my passions, and live my best life – surely this couldn’t be real. Yet it was real, and now I had the fun of sharing the news with my friends and family.
Fast forward to 5 months later and we’re here. It’s December 2018 and I have until Feb. 1st to finish up my experience with this dream job. I’ve travelled all over the US, seen incredible places, met so many great people, and honestly been living my best life to the fullest.
So I wanted to share what I’ve learned along the way, because a lot of people have asked me how I managed to fall into this role, and how they can pursue similar work. Here are a few things that I believe led to me winning this contest:
It involves a lot of luck. It’s a contest so luck was a big factor. I was lucky to come across the article, I was lucky to have a good interview, etc. However, as my favorite philosopher, Seneca wrote, “Luck Is What Happens When Preparation Meets Opportunity"
Prioritizing Travel. Having a 9-5 and one week vacation doesn’t leave you much time for travel. For me, travel is one of the most important things, so I’ve made active choices along my life path to prioritize it. Sure, sometimes it means having less money for nice things, or having to work at a job I don’t love, but if it means I can have the freedom to travel, I’m in. If you prioritize what you want, your life will have more of it. Pretty simple actually.
Working on My Craft. “Whatever you do, do it good.” That’s a line from one of my favorite songs, Express Yourself by Labrinth. For me, Photography is my craft and by taking time to watch videos, educate myself, and learn all the intricacies of the craft, I’m working towards being better every day. Whatever your craft is, you can use it to make the life you want, you just have to be creative with it.
Had I not traveled as much before this Dream Job contest, my Instagram feed wouldn’t have been as travel based (which they liked to see), and my photography wouldn’t have been of as good quality because I wouldn’t have been working on it actively. I’ve found that if you prioritize the life you want, things will start to fall into place. Life’s too short to not pursue your dreams, so work on your craft, prioritize what you want, and live your dream life. (contest winner or not!)