Why I Gave Up Travel for a 9-5

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Hi, I'm Erin!

I am a photographer passionate about the outdoors, meaningful travel, creativity and intention in all things. I hope to use my platform online to show the beauty and complexity of the world we live in, and to encourage genuine connection to the world and all the magic within it.

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For me, the road has been home for the past two and a half years. In November, I moved to Colorado until further notice to do office work at a teen adventure company. It’s the first time I’ve ever gone somewhere without an expiration date. I have furniture and a CostCo membership. Things are getting weird.

Why in the world am I trading in my get-up-and-go life on the road for a 9-5 and car insurance?

I loved living my life out of my backpack, but I was getting to a point where I wanted to have nice things, cook in my own kitchen and be in my own space. Moving around all the time is exciting and offers new learning opportunities every day. I began to want the learning opportunities that come with staying in one place.

I work in the Adventure Travel industry, a place where, at some point in your career, you will be everywhere. But when I thought about my goals for the next year, they had grown beyond leading trips. I wanted to learn business. There was a time when I thought working in this industry would be temporary. I no longer think that. I pretty much guzzle the Outdoor Education Kool Aid on a daily basis.

With: self, friends, boys. I have met some of my best friends traveling. But my next step required building steady, meaningful friendships that last for more than a few days. I’m also at a point now where I am pretty stoked to be dating again. Please file that under Things I Never Thought I’d Say. My ex-boyfriend and I broke up almost a year ago, and it has been a massive year of growth and change. I have a whole new relationship with myself that I didn’t have before and I love it.

I wanted to be close to it. All the time. And to be able to go (safely) on a solo hike whenever I wanted, or to plan incredible expeditions with friends where I get us a little bit lost but nobody is mad at me. And then I wanted to be able to go home and cook and sleep in a wicked comfortable bed.

The flatirons and my fingers

As much as I try to justify any decision with logic, it always comes down to gut for me. Ultimately, if it doesn’t feel right, I’m not going to do it. And this move feels SO RIGHT. I’m seriously stoked for this new adventure full of house plants and bedding, and I can’t wait to meet all of its challenges and opportunities.

I’m pretty excited for this new chapter. Meeting people and being able to make plans without the expiration date. Exploring the places where I now live. Stoke is at an ALL TIME HIGH.

This move isn’t the end of my rolling-stone-ness. It’s about creating a fuller life. I’ll always be a traveler. Adventure just takes different forms sometimes.

Thoughts? Let’s chat in the comments!

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  1. Polly Simpkins says:

    Way to listen to your but, Erin! It will never let you down. I wandered for many years before I moved to Colorado and settled down for a bit, I met amazing people and will always thank Colorado for that time to get grounded and connected with myself.
    Enjoy your time out there, you’ll know when and if it’s time to move on again but for now, take it all in, especially the house plants-that’s a big step!

  2. Sara G says:

    woot! Love the post Erin,
    Yes, after traveling for so long, sometimes exploring the beauty of stability and depth of relationships is the biggest adventure of all! The way I see it, there are to ways to explore –> breadth and depth. We need both, and both can be way freaking exciting sometimes 🙂
    So happy for you and this new chapter!

  3. Jordan says:

    Perfectly put! Do something that makes you money and makes you comfortable, so you can do something you love forever and consistently!

    If you live in a place where you can get to the mountain in a matter of minutes its ok to work on those dreary days! Keep living the dream and doing what you love it really inspires others.

    Jordan Apachepine.com

  4. Fred M. says:

    Good morning, Erin.
    Love your posts and spectacular photos. Thank you for sharing your amazing journey. Love your outlook on life! What a wonderful way to live, exploring and expanding your understanding of Mother Nature. Beautiful!

  5. Hi Erin,

    This was a totally mature and grown up decision for you to make!

    And from the looks of it you’ve still been traveling and climbing those mountains since your decision to commit to the 9-5. It’s all about priorities and making time 😀 Well done!

    • Thanks Carissa! I definitely did find time to play outside the 9-5. My job has changed but I’m still enjoying having somewhat of a routine in between trips. Thanks for the love!

  6. Hilary says:

    While I have never traveled full time like you, I have managed a way to find outdoor adventures for myself on long weekends in the Wasatch (Utah)! It’s true that you can have the best of both worlds. Plus, I’ve realized that coming home is an amazing feeling! 🙂

  7. David says:

    I’m glad I’ve stumbled across this post again. The first time I was here seemed to be at a time where every travel blog was telling me to quit my 9-5 and just GO (wherever “go” was). So I wanted to say thank you for writing something real and giving me comfort in my lifestyle.
    PS. I’m just back from a hike in the Scottish highlands. The Cairngorms say hi.

    • Thanks David! I think the big thing those “just go” posts miss is that “going” means something different for everyone, just like comfort zones mean something different for everyone. And that nobody should be made to feel bad for not living out of a van! Do you!! 🙂

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