Millennial Spotlight: How Rebecca Van Djik Is Connecting Women Through Travel

It all starts with an idea, timidly germinating in the back of your mind. Or maybe an inclination towards something you’ve been doing for a while. No matter how it reveals itself, your passion should never be ignored. It’s your drive! It’s what you’d make time for and do even if it doesn’t provide any income. But what if it could? Would you be willing to take the risk?

We’ve all at some point wondered how to make our dreams happen. Often we find ourselves stuck in a job that’s unfulfilling because we don’t have the courage to do what we love. There’s nothing easy about creating a lifestyle you’re passionate about. It requires hard work, sacrifice and consistency.

I’ve talked to a lot of people and their biggest struggle is that they are scared. They know what they want but they hesitate to throw themselves into doing what they love. So, what does it take to make your dreams happen? Here comes Millennial Spotlight, a bi-monthly series that features honest conversations with millennials who are taking chances and creating their own path. They are people from all walks of life who will be sharing their journey – including their ups and downs, challenges and resources.

I went to the movers and shakers and asked them how they are turning their dreams into reality. I hope their stories give you some inspiration to get started and motivation to keep at it.

Meet Rebecca: Travel Entrepeneur
Notting Hill, London
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Tell me about yourself

I worked at UBS Wealth Management, heading a team of advisors. Outside of my day job, I traveled and documented my adventures on Becky van Dijk and We Are Travel Girls!

2. What inspired you to start your blog?

In 2014, after 8 years I resigned from my job at UBS. I had met a guy whilst on holiday in Croatia, and after visiting him for a week in Los Angeles we both decided to spontaneously quit our jobs (he was a lawyer at Deloitte), pack our bags and go on a six-month adventure through South America! On returning to the UK, I battled with re-joining the corporate life or starting my own company, but I wasn’t quite there yet with my ideas and passions, so I accepted a role back at UBS.

Going back after such a long time off was pretty hard. Whilst I put my energy into work, I was still looking for a creative outlet. In October last year, I started working on BeckyvanDijk.com and was thinking of how to get myself noticed in what some might call a saturated market. I quickly realized rather than getting myself noticed, I could build a platform to get others noticed! I decided I wanted to create a place to connect female travelers and promote their blogs, and so We Are Travel Girls was born! I spent hours and hours organically growing a following initially on Instagram and now the website curates and publishes travel stories from our community of over 100,000 followers!

3. How do you manage your time to juggle these projects?

Right now, I have put everything else on hold. I have given up the majority of social activities. My weekends are precious and waking up at midday after a night of partying is not an option right now! But on the other hand, life is about balance and I still try to make time for friends and to get away from the computer screen when I can!

4. What advice do you have for anyone who’s looking to start a side hustle or turn their side hustle into a full-time pursuit?

Do something you truly love! If you try and start a business, even if it’s a great idea, that you do not connect with personally or feel passionately about, having the drive and determination to work on it day in, day out whilst trying to hold onto your day job will be very hard. Secondly, take a risk, even if you are not yet making money from your project or business, you will likely get there faster if you can put all your time and energy into it, i.e. quit your day job. Whilst losing the guaranteed paycheck can be scary, a more frightening thought would be to look back and realize you wasted an opportunity to create something for yourself.

5. What are some resources that have helped or continue to help you along the way?

The main resource that has helped was bringing on a co-founder for We Are Travel Girls. My friend Vanessa had been travel blogging for some years and she was excited about the project and asked to come on-board. Having someone to bounce ideas with and who has different views has really helped us evolve.

Ask for advice and feedback from anyone and everyone, even if it’s critical it will help you to improve your product or service.

What’s next?

I recently resigned from my banking job (yes, for the second time!) and am working my notice period through August. My boyfriend and I are then moving out to Asia to allow me time to work on We Are Travel Girls, get back to painting and other hobbies, put my health first and to see how I can grow what has been my side project for the last 9 months into a real business!

What are you doing to make your dreams happen? I’d love to hear your stories! Comment below. If you’d like to be featured, please email me and I’ll be sure to follow up.

Turning Your Passion into a Career is Simpler than You Think. Here’s how.

It may be a lack of self-confidence, but most people don’t think they can make a living by doing what they love. They tend to separate their day job from their passion projects when the two can be one and the same. Doing that is no easy task, but then again, what is?

In order to turn your passion into a career, you first have to visualize what pursuing it looks like. If your passion lies in reading, break it down and tease out the part you’re really interested in. Is it reviewing books (think editor or publisher), writing them (think author) or recommending them (think librarian) that sets your soul on fire? Once you figure out exactly what you like, you can then plan to make it your reality.

Here are four ways in which you can turn your passions into a career:

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a. Work for someone

Get this, you don’t have to be your own boss to pursue your passions. It’s common to think that only entrepreneurs get to really do what they love. You can be fulfilled working at a company and also living your dreams. Growing with a company can be a valuable experience as you get hands-on knowledge and training to perfect your craft and reaffirm that an industry is still right for you.

If you love writing and dream of becoming the editor-in-chief of a magazine someday, you can start as an editorial intern. Slowly but surely, you’ll work your way to the role of an associate, manager then director. The essential thing is that at every stage, you’re doing what you’re passionate about and still learning. 

b. Freelance

If you don’t like the corporate environment, freelancing might be a better alternative. You’re in control of your schedule, but you’re also in charge of how much you make. Freelancing isn’t very hard to get into, but it comes with incredible pressure to maintain a certain level of income. 

If your dream is to become a wedding videographer, doing it on your free time for your family or friends would be a great  start. That can lead to more clients through word-of-mouth marketing and eventually generate enough money to make a full-time living. The challenge then is to maintain a solid clientele. With enough practice, strategic networking and perseverance, you might not have to pitch clients anymore because they’ll come to you instead.

Check out: My Secrets To Becoming A Successful Freelancer (And How You Can Get Out Of Your Desk Job In 30 Days)

c. Start a business

There is no better way to master a skill or live out a passion than to start a business and build a product you truly care about. If you’re an animal lover, perhaps you can build an organization that rescues lost dogs and finds them a home in a new family. The best way to come up with business ideas is to be observant. Stay on top of the news and anticipate trends. If you notice a flaw in an industry you’re interested in, think about how you can align your passion with creating a solution.

Check out: I Juggled a Full-Time Job While Launching My Startup

d. Create a side hustle 

For those of us who want to do more with our career than just climb the corporate ladder, having a side hustle can bring us satisfaction. If you have both a side hustle and a day job, your time management skills will be put to the test. Ultimately, it’s a rewarding experience that allows you to explore your potential, work on something you’re passionate about and maybe eventually, diversify your income.

Check out: 5 Keys to Growing a Successful Side Project Without Quitting Your Day Job

e. Take classes

When I was in college, I felt like I had several careers. I was studying to become a neuroscientist while working in communications and socializing with people in the fashion or beauty industry. It was probably the most challenging task to keep up with all these different activities, but I felt fulfilled because I was catering to all my interests. I was on track academically and I used my free time to explore other options. Although I stopped pursuing neuroscience after graduation, it’s still a career option for me.

A more traditional way of turning a passion into a career is to go to school for it. You’ll earn a degree or certificate, which will give you credibility should you choose to pursue it further. 

The most important thing to remember is to not limit yourself. If you have different interests, make time for them until you figure what you enjoy doing. The time of having a traditional 9 to 5 job is almost gone so don’t try to fit in a box. You can experiment with different options and carve your own path. Identify your passions, assess your skills, leverage your experience and spend your time wisely.

Are you currently working on a passion project? I would love to hear about it in the comments.

Embrace Your Hustle. Do Not Be Embarrassed About What You Do.

The other day, I was having lunch with my friend when the subject of our jobs came up. He started blushing then tried to change the topic. I insisted until he had no choice but to tell me. He then hesitantly said that he was delivering food for extra cash on his free time. He went on to explain how embarrassed it made him feel because he’s overqualified for the job and that it’s a temporary source of income. I was confused as I saw nothing shameful about that.

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More often than not, we’ll find ourselves doing things we don’t particularly enjoy to achieve a goal in life. Whether it’s working as a delivery man or selling lemonades, everything we do teaches us something and builds our character. Meg Jay in The Defining Decade would argue that this is how we acquire identity capital, “the repertoire of individual resources we build over time.”

My friend needed a quick way to make money without having to quit his job so he picked up a food delivery gig. You might need to work as a bartender on weekends to pay rent next month. Or you might have to work at a call center to afford next semester’s tuition. Whatever you do, be clear about the why. Keep your long-term goals in mind and let that motivate you.

Doing menial jobs isn’t a step back, but a step forward in the direction of accomplishing your goals. What you find degrading could be someone else’s passion. Your perception of things greatly influences the way they affect you. Where my friend saw shame, I saw courage. I saw someone who could clearly assess his needs and find ways to meet them. “This quality of being resourceful will take you far in life.” I told him.

One of my early jobs consisted of giving out flyers to strangers in the streets. Did I enjoy it? Not particularly. To my creative soul, it was the most repetitive job but I kept reminding myself why I was doing it. I needed money for the equipment to start my YouTube channel. Did it make me more comfortable talking to strangers? Absolutely! I was working full-time and making $15/hour and I felt so rich! I was able to save and buy the camera I started video blogging with. Win-win? I’d say so!

Everyone has to do tedious work at some point in their lives and for whatever reason. These jobs are not reserved to a particular class of people.

If you’re conscious about the way you spend your time and aware of the results your actions will yield, then it’s a worthy investment. Own your choices. They have a purpose. Embrace your hustle. It’s a part of who you are.

What side hustles do you have going on right now? I’d love to know in the comments.

Tell Me How You Spend Your Days and I’ll Tell You Who You’ll Become

The good news is, you have the same 24 hours as every successful person you know. The difference though might be that they spend this time more wisely.

One of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever received is to monitor the things I allocate my time to and make adjustments so that my everyday behavior reflects what I want out of life. In other words, I have to make sure my daily actions are in line with my long-term goals.

The thing that most people don’t understand is that they build their career daily. You carve your own path with every decision you make and action you take.

How do you spend your days? Do you go to work and come home to watch TV before bed? This must mean you’re satisfied with your job and happy with your life. Do you make time to go to networking events after work? Then you probably want to take your career to the next step or continue your professional development. Do you spend your 5 to 9 volunteering or working on your creative projects – whether that’d be writing a book, filming and editing videos, painting, making beaded bracelets etc.? Then you have something you’re passionate about and showing the world what you care about. Do you stay home and binge watch shows on Netflix or mindlessly browse the Internet?

If you do something well and consistently, it will become your reality. Habits develop as a result of doing something long enough. They become the building blocks of your long-term behavior. This in turn determines the course of your life. If you’re unhappy with where you are, figure out what’s wrong and make concrete changes to fix it. Pay attention to your habits and what you naturally spend your time doing. Eliminate distractions and focus. This isn’t to say that you can’t occasionally take breaks and binge watch episodes of Peaky Blinders (*cough*). However, maintaining a balance is healthy.

A full-time blogger didn’t just write one blog post to reach that level of success. A milestone can take years of dedication, smart investments, strategic thinking and planning.

Take a look at your life now. Have your actions brought you closer to your goals? Are you repeating mistakes and expecting to see different results? Focus on what you can control – your thoughts, your actions. I guarantee you the rest will fall into place.

So, what did you do today? Or better yet, what will you do tomorrow?

What if you had the courage to pursue the things you love? What’s holding you back from living your dreams?  Let me know how I can help in the comments. For more articles like these, subscribe to my newsletter.