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Career vs. Travel: The Decision Part 2 | Don't Ever Look Back

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Career vs. Travel: The Decision Part 2

Career vs. Travel: The Decision Part 2

It’s happened. Again.

A few months ago we sacrificed a trip to New Zealand when I (Kieron) was offered a dream three-month job and suddenly we’re faced with a very similar situation – to choose career or travel.

You’d think that it would get easier the second time around but it definitely doesn’t.

Upon learning a few weeks ago that my contract at the Australian Football League wasn’t to be renewed, the two of us began planning out an epic summer in Europe. We don’t throw the word “epic” around too often but this trip definitely deserved that label.

We were to spend 2-3 months  traveling through Florence Italy, France, Spain and Portugal and were including festivals and events such as La Tomatina, Oktoberfest and TBU Porto in our itinerary. Amy handed in her resignation at work and we were on the verge of booking flights…

Dreaming of this view...

We are dreaming of this view...

Then out of nowhere, a job offer came my way. A lucrative offer from a world leader in digital sports broadcasting; a company listed on the London Stock Exchange that has over 650 staff in 12 international locations. My job will be located in Melbourne but there’s definitely opportunity to grow.

It’s a job that will give me significant experience with account management, project management and digital media. Essentially, the perfect career move, regardless of the next step.

So here we are again, faced with one hell of a dilemma.

Career or travel?

Career or travel... which one to choose?

Career or travel... which one to choose?

If we had millions of dollars in the bank account, the decision would be simple. Travel will always be our number one passion as we’ve reiterated on this blog countless times.

But the two of us unfortunately aren’t loaded with cash and finding the right balance between travel and ‘real life’ right now is incredibly difficult, particularly after our 6 months of traveling in 2011. We simply can’t afford to fund indefinite travel.

Our Decision: Career* (with a HUGE Asterisk)

We’re firm believers that everything happens for a reason – we procrastinated on booking our flights to Europe and during this time a job opportunity came my way that I was able to consider.

After careful consideration and a few sleepless nights, we’ve decided that I should accept the job offer and therefore choose career over travel for a second time. 

But as the heading above suggests, the word career has a huge asterisk next to it because this decision certainly doesn’t mean the end of our travels and we’re not settling down… not by a long shot! The two of us are solely thinking about longer term and although it means sacrificing an immediate big trip to Europe, this is just the start of bigger and better things for us and for Don’t Ever Look Back.

Here’s a list of factors on why we’ve made the decision that we have.

  • We are still young and were considering doing a UK Working Holiday Visa in the next 12-24 months. This company may provide an opening to work internationally and even if that doesn’t eventuate, the experience I’ll gain will make me significantly more attractive to potential employers (definitely beats pouring beers at a pub!).
  • It gives Amy the perfect chance to try something different and perhaps even go back to the classroom to study, again improving our employment chances on a WHV.
  • It allows us to save a considerable amount of money which will be used for future travel adventures while living it up in a Melbourne apartment which we can’t wait to do.

Although it may seem that we’re choosing career, essentially we’re opting for a combination of career and travel.

Here are some of the exciting things that we already have planned for the next couple of months that we can’t wait to share with you:

  • A ski/snowboard adventure at Mount Buller in Victoria’s snow fields.
  • A quick jaunt through South-East Asia (destinations to be confirmed).
  • A road trip along the famous Great Ocean Road.
  • Plenty more exploring of the great city of Melbourne.

Melbourne Skyline At Night

There is still so much of Melbourne for us to see!

It’s not quite the epic three-month adventure through Europe but we know that Europe isn’t going anywhere and it’ll be waiting for us when we finally do get there.

Not convinced we’re making the right decision? Check out this brilliant post over at A Dangerous Business on how You Can Live a “Normal” Life and Travel Too that might just change your mind.

Have we made the correct decision? We want to hear your honest opinions.


  1. Posted June 29, 2012 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

    Congrats on the job offer Kieron!!!

    It must have been tough for the two of you to make the ‘career’ decision a second time but I really do hope that this job takes you to the places you want to be and lets you travel once you’ve established your footing. 🙂

    Can’t wait to see you when back in Melbourne to have a congratulatory beer and hear about the upcoming skiing! And Amy, come to Monash with me!! 🙂
    Nicole recently posted..One in Three Thousand: Remembering Nicole

    • Posted June 29, 2012 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

      Thanks Nicole – it was a massive surprise when I got the call and an even bigger surprise when I got the offer. Clearly it was meant to happen so I’ll give it a try and see what path this takes us on.

      It really was a difficult decision but if we did the Europe plan then we would’ve been back in Melbourne with no jobs and no money (and some lifelong memories too!) and we went with the more sustainable option for now. As we said, Europe will always be there and with a bit more money we’ll be able to enjoy either the summer of 2013 or 2014 even more!

      We’re apartment hunting at the moment around the city so we can’t wait to start attending more events and doing more things in town. Haha I’ll pass the word on to her but I think she’s looking more at short-courses than anything long term! My stress levels when I was at uni probably scared her off for life. 🙂

  2. Posted June 29, 2012 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

    Brave decision guys but I’m sure it will pay off in the end. Like you said, Europe will always be here and job opportunites like that one probably won’t be.

    Big congratulations on the job, Kieron!
    Emma Gray recently posted..Visiting Athens During the Greek Elections

    • Posted June 29, 2012 at 10:02 pm | Permalink

      It’s a pretty good situation to be in and we know that it was one of those decisions where you win either way. Hopefully the sacrifice of travel in August/September will mean more opportunities to get away in 2013! 🙂

  3. Posted June 29, 2012 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

    Congratulations on the job, Kieron! Please don’t feel pressure to continue to be Mr. and Ms. Travel — we, your readers and blogger colleagues, know you still live for travel, even if you can’t do it 24/7.

    If I were in your shoes and got a dream job offer in a cool city I’ve always wanted to live in, I’d do the same thing. 🙂 Good luck!
    Adventurous Kate recently posted..Road Tripping to Plitivice

    • Posted June 29, 2012 at 10:06 pm | Permalink

      Thanks Kate, we know that we want to set up a home base somewhere and do shorter trips but it’s been over 6 months since we’ve stepped foot in another country!

      I guess there’s always the feeling that we’ll get too comfortable and settle for our 4 weeks holiday per year but we’re determined not to fall into that trap. And besides, it’s not a complete loss – we will get to spend a couple of weeks in SE Asia instead of time in Europe.

      Very disappointed we won’t get to hang out with you at TBU Porto though!

  4. Posted June 29, 2012 at 9:48 pm | Permalink

    Decisions like this are so difficult to make. I guess you just have to focus on the fact that there are worse situations to be in than choosing between two pretty damn awesome options! Sounds like you made the right decision to me. Congratulations and good luck to both of you!
    Arianwen recently posted..London south bank: a farewell to remember

    • Posted June 29, 2012 at 10:07 pm | Permalink

      Thanks Arianwen. Definitely the way we’re thinking – life could be a lot worse! If we realize after a few weeks that we’ve made the wrong decision then Europe is only a flight or two away!

  5. Posted June 29, 2012 at 11:26 pm | Permalink

    Sometimes sacrificing the short term in order to have a better long term is the right decision, and it sounds like that’s where you’re at right now. The job sounds great, even if it means we won’t get to see you in Europe this summer 😉
    Ali recently posted..Istanbul in Photos – Blue Mosque

    • Posted June 29, 2012 at 11:30 pm | Permalink

      It’s not easy to sacrifice such an exciting adventure but fortunately we do see the bigger picture and no doubt we’ll be in Germany sooner rather than later!

  6. Posted June 29, 2012 at 11:42 pm | Permalink

    OMG. You just Lebron James’d us. haha…
    Make that money kid! Don’t worry, we’re missing out on TBEX and TBU this fall too. 🙁
    Gerard ~ GQ trippin recently posted..6 Months of Travel and Fall 2012 Plans

    • Posted June 29, 2012 at 11:54 pm | Permalink

      Haha if my offer was anywhere in the vicinity of Lebron’s then this post wouldn’t even have been written… it simply would have said “show me the money!”.

      The hardest part is that we were getting so excited to finally attend these events and see things we missed out on during our RTW but we’ll get everywhere eventually. Mark my words!

  7. Posted June 30, 2012 at 3:43 am | Permalink

    Excellent news for the both of you! At the end of the day, you’ve both thought about things very carefully, and you’ve made your decision together!
    fotoeins | Henry recently posted..Daytrip to Vaxholm in Stockholm’s archipelago

    • Posted June 30, 2012 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

      We did think about it very carefully and know that if we change our minds, it’s not too difficult to be on the next flight out of here.

  8. Posted June 30, 2012 at 4:08 am | Permalink

    I’m going to sit on the fence and say there’s no right or wrong choice, just what is right for you at the time.
    It’s not easy to make the “responsible” choice, but an exciting new job is just as much an adventure than any holiday.
    Plus think of all the footy you’ll see in Melbourne!!
    Megan H recently posted..Play nice: The Tour de France caravan

    • Posted June 30, 2012 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

      Nothing wrong with sitting on the fence – we really couldn’t lose either way although longer-term the decision we’ve made (yep, the responsible choice!) makes slightly more sense.

      We hope that moving into an apartment in Melbourne will be a holiday in itself although I’m taking a short break from watching footy after spending the past three months working at the AFL haha.

  9. Posted June 30, 2012 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

    Congratulations! I would’ve done the same thing (in fact, I did — I took a break from traveling and accepted a job offer in Paris to save some money and work towards my dream career). I’m all for travel, but great job opportunities are harder to come by — and as you said, Europe will always be there. The jobs might not be. Congratulations, and can’t wait to hear more about Melbourne!
    Edna recently posted..Euro 2012 from the best seat in Paris

    • Posted July 2, 2012 at 11:39 pm | Permalink

      Nice work Edna, it’s great to hear other people who have made a similar decision and haven’t looked back. We look forward to sharing more adventures from Melbourne over the next couple of months! 🙂

    • Posted July 5, 2012 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

      Definitely not looking back, dream career is well on its way now: going to London as an Olympic journalist in a couple weeks! Career is absolutely the right choice in circumstances like these.
      Edna recently posted..Why I feel lucky to be American

  10. Posted June 30, 2012 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

    The reality of life is that work is a huge part of it, unless you’re born with a silver spoon in your mouth. We’re in a similar situation now – we’re expats – having a travel blog sometimes means a bit of pressure that you must be travelling but in my mind, the very things that we love about travel are true of any adventure, be that a new job or self-improvement or taking a new course of study. I think you should be proud of yourselves for thinking long-term; if you move to London later on you’ll have so many opportunities to see Europe (summer is not the best time anyway, I don’t care what anyone says – it’s stinking hot and no locals are hanging out in their own cities). So enjoy your new opportunities (congrats, by the way!) and we look forward to seeing you when you make it to our neck of the woods =)
    Andrea recently posted..Travel Memories: USA Part 3 – Las Vegas

    • Posted July 2, 2012 at 11:41 pm | Permalink

      It’s an unfortunately reality but yep, you need money to live and travel. We’ve been seeing some pretty awful statuses about the extreme weather in Europe at the moment and think that perhaps we have made the right decision to postpone our trip – plus we’ll have enough money to make it up to Scandinavia where you guys are whereas we wouldn’t be able to afford it right now! 🙂

  11. Posted July 1, 2012 at 7:41 am | Permalink

    Best of luck with your new job I bet it will be amazing. Don’t worry about putting off travel for now you still have your whole lives ahead of you. 🙂
    George recently posted..My First Time

    • Posted July 2, 2012 at 11:42 pm | Permalink

      Thanks George, we know that everything will work out for the best in the end! 🙂

  12. Posted July 3, 2012 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    It sounds like you guys made a smart decision. And don’t worry, we will all still be following your adventures, whether far from or close to home! Congrats!
    Susan @ Travel Junke recently posted..PHOTO: Gobi Desert Sand Dunes

    • Posted July 8, 2012 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

      That’s great to know Susan – hopefully we’ll have some fun stories to share in the coming months! 🙂

  13. Posted July 3, 2012 at 11:06 pm | Permalink

    Aww, I was looking forward to meeting you in France this summer! But understood, some big decisions need to be made when young and still trying to build a career! Congrats Kieron! And good luck Amy if you decided to go back to school, that’s always exciting!
    Caro recently posted..Toronto, we need to talk (The break up letter)

    • Posted July 8, 2012 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

      We were looking forward to it too! The funny thing is we were looking for a 2-3 week work exchange after being inspired by you guys and if one of those had fallen into place then we would have had our flights booked to Europe. The world sure works in mysterious ways sometimes.

      Hopefully we’ll catch up with you sooner rather than later! 🙂

  14. Posted July 6, 2012 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

    so true Europe isn’t going anywhere, it will be waiting for you to celebrate… congrats on your new job..
    rdsean recently posted..Bangkok: The City of Angels

    • Posted July 8, 2012 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

      Thanks! We can’t wait to finally get there whether it’s in 2013 or 2014!

  15. Posted July 8, 2012 at 3:27 am | Permalink

    I had to check out your site, btw your blog review on Business of Blogging FB group starts on September 18th. 🙂

    I’m a long-term traveler/live abroad person (with a child mind you!) and my financial situation is different but we are not rich and traveling was getting more and more expensive, and less safe for my now teenage son. So we are back in the U.S. living life for awhile. I think you made the right choice, pursue both passions and you never know what opportunity will come from one or the other. Molly
    Molly recently posted..Videos – Markets in Cusco, Peru

    • Posted July 8, 2012 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

      Hi Molly, glad you came and checked out our site! Thanks for the heads up, that gives us over 2 months to get our site in order before the critics come knocking. 🙂

      That’s right – hopefully some great opportunities come up later down the track even though we’re sacrificing some in the shorter term. It’s good to know that others like yourself have had to face similar tough decisions and are still enjoying life as a result.

  16. Posted November 21, 2012 at 2:42 am | Permalink

    Congrats again!! I just answered my previous question by reading this. I would do the same probably. You don’t have to live up to anyones expectations of how travel *should* be. It’s not ‘all in or nothing’. You can have the best of both worlds this way!
    Steph | DiscoveringI recently posted..Tulum, Mexico | The Reality of a World Famous Tourist Attraction

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