Turns out avoiding a career helped me find one…

Part of my new job. Really.
Part of my new job. Really.
I'm the unemployed one on the left

I'm the unemployed one on the left

In 2008, I had finished university and was meant to be (according to all the post-graduation ‘what to do now’ and ‘welcome to the rest of your life’ guides) on my way to my first career, maybe my own home, a pet? a family? Commitment.

The problem was that in 2008, none of that sounded so great. You know what did sound great? Leaving the country. Going to the other side of the world. Leaving ideas of a career, or grad school, or settling down behind me for a bit. I knew it wouldn’t be forever, but it was definitely for now. I knew very few people in the same boat. I knew people going straight to grad school, I knew people who were going full time in jobs they already had, and I knew people who had already been hired by one company or another. Me? I decided to buy a ticket to Bangkok and go teach some Thai kids English for a little while.

Yes, okay, it was a ‘job’ but it wasn’t exactly a career move. Then to avoid sending those slightly annoying ‘hey everyone, read about all the amazing things I’m doing and you’re not’ group e-mails, I set up a blog. Read it if you want, or don’t. Except it turned out I kind of enjoyed it.

No need to point out which one I am this time I think...

No need to point out which one I am this time I think...

So now I was further away from home than I’d ever been, and I was writing, not because I had to, but because I loved it. I started getting ideas about becoming the next great travel writer (watch this space…).

I’ll write more about my past travels and tips for Southeast Asia in the future, and I’ve already written about my adventures in Australia. But for now I’m supposed to write about my milestone from the past year. It wasn’t going to Thailand – that was two years ago anyway.

After Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Australia, plus a little help from a new and wonderful friend I made along the way (another Go Girl writer), this year I managed to do the impossible: I convinced someone to give me a paycheck to do (almost) exactly what I love. I work online, I write about travel, and sometimes I even get to actually travel for my job. Sure, so I’d rather be a traveling reporter or something equally glamorous, but hey, you can’t have it all.

Part of my new job. Really.

Part of my new job. Really.

My milestone is stepping into my first career and getting paid to do what I would do anyway. I didn’t spend my last year of university desperately interviewing for jobs I didn’t really want. I didn’t panic about where I was going to live or how I was going to afford rent. I flew to the other side of the world and spent the better part of two years seeing new places and cultures everywhere. I realized that I love to write (so that degree didn’t go to waste…phew) and be a part of an online community.

And when I came back, someone agreed to pay me to keep doing it.

I haven’t stopped traveling and I know I haven’t stopped reaching milestones, but for now, I count myself pretty lucky to have that one.

McPhee was born in London where she lived until age 11 clocking in some early travel experiences around Europe. After that, she was off to the USA with her parents, living in New York, Maryland and Massachusetts. Post university, staying in one place didn’t work, so after a summer back in London, she headed to Thailand to become an English teacher. When she finished teaching she travelled through Laos and Cambodia where she discovered her love for travel writing. In November, 2009, after getting a one way ticket for £10 through STA Travel’s Anniversary celebrations, Marianne headed to Australia where she travelled across the East Coast and at one point found herself living in the Outback. Now that life has returned her to London, she has grabbed the chance to learn more about her home country. See her monthly updates on exploring the UK here, and read more of her musings, including her challenge to run around the world for charity at

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  1. I loved reading your post. Where exactly were you in the middle pic? Your job sounds verrry interesting! Thanks so much for sharing.

  2. You are lucky, you followed your instincts, and a suitable job – that you also love – fell into place. Goes to show, how most people just follow on blindly instead of taking time find what they really love and want they would be dedicated to.

    All the best!

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