Diana Edelman has been an inspiration to me since I discovered her travel blog while backpacking in Thailand. The honesty and passion she writes with has made her blog, D Travels ‘Round, stand out for me as one of the most compelling on the internet. Since landing a dream job as a PR specialist for Elephant Nature Park and relocating to Thailand, she’s also become a commanding voice for animal rights. As the first participant in the “What’s You Passion?” interview series on SOTC, I’m thrilled to have Diana share her journey of turning lifelong passions into a successful and fulfilling career…
I am passionate about writing, traveling and animal rights. I discovered my passion for writing at a young age — I would take those black and white journals from elementary school and convert them into my own bound books where I would use my elementary cursive and pen books, poems, you name it. I even gave them as gifts to my teachers. Travel was discovered right about the same time — my dad would take my brother and I on “adventures” in DC, nearby where we lived. Then, one day, I realized I could combine the two and now I live daily with both. I recently discovered my passion to help protect animals, especially the Asian elephant, on a recent trip to Elephant Nature Park. I fell in love with the elephants and the founder’s passion to protect all living things, and made it my mission to help promote her beliefs.
What is the title you would use to describe your career and how does your passion tie in?
I’m a writer, and PR specialist. A big part of public relations is writing, and my job requires a lot of travel, so I get to travel, write and now that I work for Save Elephant Foundation, get to do all three of my passions on a daily basis.
What is the biggest sacrifice you’ve had to make in order to live the lifestyle you’ve chosen?
The biggest sacrifice, hands down, is being so far from my family. Thailand is not close to America, and it is hard to be such a great distance from them and miss milestone moments in their lives.
What is the biggest perk?
There are so many! I wake up every day knowing I’m living my dream. Plus, I get to spend time with elephants and other animals and have such a positive influence on their lives with the founder of SEF, Lek Chailert.
When did you realize that what your passion could become your profession and what were the first steps you took to make that a reality?
One night in Atlanta after I returned from my first trip to Croatia; I was trying to go to sleep and my mind kept writing a story about my time in Europe, so I opened up my laptop and started my travel blog. As it grew in readership, I slowly began to realize I could make that my life. Then, after spending time with the elephants, I began to write a lot about that, and it eventually turned into an opportunity to relocate to Thailand and help the foundation.
Have the people in your life been supportive of your career path?
Yes! My parents have been especially supportive. They’ve always wanted me to follow my dreams and live the life I want, so when I told them I was moving to Thailand, they were thrilled. I’m sure they would rather have me at home, or at least back in Las Vegas where it was a quick flight versus on the other side of the world, but I know they are happy as long as I am happy.
Can you think of an instance where you almost quit trying to turn your passion into a career? How did you overcome that?
There are times when running a travel blog gets overwhelming. The pressure I put on myself can be a bit much, but at the end of the day, I just want to write, and I’m able to do that. I always try to keep things in perspective and remind myself I am writing for me, and if other people like it, that’s even better! As for my new gig with SEF, I never quit pursuing that. I knew I wanted to be a part of the foundation so I quit my day job and planned to relocate to Thailand before I was even offered the position.
What do you think it is about yourself that allows you to succeed in a career that most would not consider?
I truly believe in what I’m doing. Both in my blog and my job. I am so in love with writing, so in love with the elephants, that it just feels right.
What skill or trait have you had to improve upon in order to follow this career path?
I had to learn the art of patience. Nothing comes quickly, and growing a blog from nothing to something took me years of dedication. And heaps of patience.
Is there a specific person/cause/movement that inspired you to do what you do?
In terms of my day job, yes, Lek Chailert, the founder of SEF. Her love for animals and her desire to help people really made me look at my life very differently.
What advice would you offer to someone who is struggling to turn their passion into a career?
Keep at it! It isn’t easy, but when you’re able to turn your passion into your career, it is the most satisfying moment and pure bliss. Nothing happens overnight — don’t expect it to. But, if you know what you want, make the sacrifices, take the chances and believe in yourself.
What do you hope to have accomplished in your career in the next ten years?
I will be happy if I just keep doing what I am doing! At the same time, I would love to help change the attitude that travelers have about their impact and would love it if more people would make educated decisions in their travel experiences rather than only thinking of their bucket lists, etc.
If you were to start all over again and pick a profession other than what you’re doing right now, what would it be?
I used to love acting. As a child, I dreamed of being a professional actress. So, I’d either to that or something like a life coach. I love to help others realize their dreams and help them go after them.