During the global financial catastrophe of 2008 Craig Zabransky was given his marching orders, bringing the curtain down on a successful ten-year career as a global consultant. Far from being the end of his world, it was just the kick he needed.
Craig’s job had taken him to many parts of the world, and for years he had entertained the thought of becoming a travel writer. Though he had come close on several occasions, he was never quite ready to make the leap. The sudden loss of a job forced him to reassess his life and to pursue a dream he’d held dear for so long. Today he runs the popular travel blog Stay Adventurous that aims to inspire people to be adventurous in all aspects of their lives.
For ten years Craig Zabransky was a consultant for such prestigious firms as Arthur Andersen and KPMG Consulting, working with a client list that read like a Who’s Who of Wall Street. “I chose the career because it allowed me to go to cool destinations. As a consultant you go where the project is.”
The job took Craig all over the world, but even though he was seeing some fabulous places, he felt he was missing out. “There were tight deadlines, a lot of stress and I was putting in so many hours that I lost a little bit about what it was like to be in those locations.”
The job excited Craig and there were aspects he enjoyed. However, always at the back of his mind were nagging thoughts that there was more to life and the world. It took a number of wake-up calls before he eventually transitioned to the path he’s on today.
September 11 Attacks
The first of those is something he doesn’t talk about a lot and that is the September 11 attacks. “I worked downtown at Arthur Andersen and that day is also my birthday. I planned to take it off but was asked to come in because a video crew was filming and it would be a really good boost for my career. So I really had to come in.
“It was of course a horrific day in New York and that really started to get me thinking about doing something else. But it wasn’t until after I turned thirty a couple of years later that I really had the mojo to do it.”
Time Off to Travel
Craig’s thoughts started to drift away from Wall Street and the successful career he was building. He secured a leave of absence and took eleven month offs to travel. “I realized a lot about myself from it and just how magical and wonderful the world can be and oh boy do I need to do something different.”
However, on his return to New York he slotted back into his old routine. “I had spent all my cash and was thinking to myself, I’ll just go back to work, get some money and figure things out.”
Although there wasn’t a single “aha” moment that acted as a catalyst for change, Craig was never the same after the round the world trip.
When financial markets collapsed in 2008 Craig was handed his walking papers. “I worked with this guy for nine years and it was bizarre that he didn’t give me any heads up. So at first I was of course angry and then I’m like this is a blessing in disguise. You know I kind of wanted this and I had made it sort of known through my actions and conversations so maybe he picked up on that. In some ways he did me a favor by forcing me into changing.”
By that time Craig was already dabbling in freelance writing and blogging, and trying to figure out how to make a living from his writing endeavors.
“It was a slow development to change Wall Street consultant Craig into a travel guru Craig. When I finally made the leap my feeling was one of, well, it’s about time. I mean how many signs did I need?
“It’s been four years and I’m still giving it a go. Have I been successful the whole time? No. Have I needed the same amount of money? No. Am I happier hanging out in some amazing places and doing the things I love to do? Yes.”