Salty Contributor: Leslie Carvitto’s “Your Path Does Not Have to Be Linear”


Finding a career path and that “one thing” we’re meant to do with our lives can be daunting. In our latest contribution, Leslie Carvitto shares her life experience and how she came to terms with the fact that the path you choose one day, doesn’t have to be the same for the rest of your life.

Multi faceted, multi dimensional, and rich in life lessons, she carved her way through experiences that helped her understand who she was and what she truly wanted to do.

Aspiring to create a career that encompasses all the things she loved in life, Leslie calls herself a “Multi Passionate Creative”. In this personal journey, she found her true purpose, one where she thrives in both a professional and creative way.

I loved reading her personal take on the pressure of succeeding and being defined by one “job”. I’m sure many of us at a point in time feel, or have felt, lost between the need to make money and have a stable life, and the desire to explore the world, take risks, and make it all happen.

Read Leslie’s full story below.

“What do you want to be when your grow up?”

This question is posed to us by unassuming adults about the same time we’re learning to form complete sentences. What a big question to pose on a young person so early in life, right?  I don’t know about you, but my answer back then (An Olympic gymnast, in case you were wondering) has zero correlation to what I actually “grew up” to be.

To be honest, my answer to that question changed a lot over the years. Even as I started college at Hawaii Pacific University, I was at a loss for which career path to choose. While I was panicking over picking a major, I turned to my mom for some sage advice. She suggested I study communications, mostly because I had an intense love for writing. Turns out mom’s really do know best. It was a broad but fantastic major that allowed me to study public relations, broadcasting, journalism, and advertising.

I ended up specialising in public relations and took on a PR internship role right before I graduated. It was with one of the major hotel chains in Hawaii and let’s just say by the end of it, I knew corporate work wasn’t a fit for me. I was barley 21 years old and couldn’t see how working 40-50 hours a week at a desk would lead to a fulfilling and happy life, especially with Waikiki just steps outside of my fluorescent lit office. So instead of applying for a full time job with the hotel, I said my thank you’s, added the experience on my resume and moved on. Jumping into the “real world” was the last thing on my mind. I wanted to soak up sun drenched days on the beach. I wanted to begin the day surfing glassy waves and end the day watching the watercolour sunsets that illuminated the sky.

It was around this time that I noticed how easily inspired I was, and how eager I felt to learn through experiences and saying YES to opportunities. So while many of my friends graduated college and went on to find salaried jobs in the corporate world, I took up a job as a waitress earning just enough money to pay my rent and purchase a plane ticket every now and then. Working at nights provided ample time during the day to explore the island and my budding interests. Let’s just say that responsibility was minimal, and play took precedence during this time in my life.

I fell in love with yoga.

Yoga awakened me to a whole new world of physical, mental and spiritual health. I got so deep into the practice that I took a 200 hour teaching training at my studio and starting subbing classes. I picked up a part time job at a juice bar (partly for the income, partly for the free juice) and had health conscious conversations on the daily. I leaned into creative callings and started a blog to share my writing and photography. I was scouted by an agency and became a commercial and lifestyle model. I got a job at Lululemon Athletica and became obsessed with running community events and supporting our team of ambassadors.

It all sounds somewhat linear when I write about it, but trying to communicate all of my jobs and interests during this time made me feel inadequate and fickle.

Why couldn’t I be someone who had one strong passion and one distinct path to walk? Why couldn’t I stop bouncing around to all these different interests, and just settle down with a full time job? Comparison was usually the culprit to why I felt insufficient. I worried about what my resume would look like when I finally decided to get a “real job”. How would future employers read my three page document of varying work experience? Would I ever find my true purpose?

I Tried A Totally Different Life

Six years into living the relaxed Hawaiian lifestyle, I met my now-husband on one of Oahu’s infamous jagged mountain peaks. Fast forward through a year and a half of long distance dating and I moved to Seattle, Washington. A month into my new life back on the mainland, I had secured a “big girl” job and was actually excited about what would come with it; stability, a 401K, and a generous commission structure.

The new cycle, long and predictable, had me up and out the door by 6 am and back at home by 6pm.  After talking all day to people at work, the last thing I wanted to do was more talking once I got home. After sitting behind a computer all day, my mind told my body that it was time to move but my body told my mind it was too tired. I lasted 8 months before transitioning to a creative agency.

My new work environment was way more my style and I was surrounded by young and artistic co-workers.  With better work-life balance, I started to get back into my groove with writing and photography. I noticed quickly how much creativity fuelled me and started thinking about how I could mash up all my passions to create a career.

After a few years of learning through steady agency work and side passion projects, I knew I wouldn’t be satisfied until I tried to make it on my own.

I started defining myself as a multi-passionate creative and began to trust that it was a gift that I could share with the world. I started to let go of the idea that I needed to grow up and out of my ideas of what life should look like. I stopped thinking there were only a few routes to take, and that I needed to be on one of them. I wanted to follow the voice in my heart that kept telling me there was something more, if only I was brave enough to listen and pursue it.

I took a risk, and it paid off.

So after many conversations and endless debates about timing, finances, and the future, I moved on from my 9-5 job to make space to become a creative freelancer.

Quitting my job was scary, but deep down I felt like I was finally listening to a calling that had been knocking at my door for years. I now had an open schedule to give it a fair try. In the end, I did narrow things down a little and have focused on writing, photography and modeling. I sprinkle in a few other things here and there but at the end of the day, I feel so aligned with my purpose and stoked to have chosen the multi-passionate creative path. It’s certainly not easy, but it’s without a doubt the right path for me.

Leslie recently moved to Australia and now pursues the freelance life, working as a photographer, model and copywriter. You can find out more about Leslie and her adventures on her website or follow her @lcarvitto