staff, May 21, 2015

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Inspired by their experiences in college and elsewhere, these Pathfinders are passing by the typical, well-trod career paths and blazing their own trails. We?ll explore the unconventional approaches these Big Ten alums are taking to work.

Rutgers_MiloA conventional - if also comfortable - career seemed to be in the cards for Milosz ?Milo? Pierwola. The Rutgers alum had put in three years as an attorney, spending most of his time at a desk, and everyone around him believed he was doing quite well for himself.

There was just one problem: He was completely miserable at work. So, he quit in order to become a ?professional explorer.? To do that, he started EXP Adventures, a company that offers personalized trips to some of the most pristine places on Earth.

?EXP Adventures came about because I have always wanted to pursue my dreams of travel,? Pierwola said. ?But because of my career path as an attorney, it was very rare that I got to go on adventures and explore the world. So when I did get to travel and reach these destinations, I was overwhelmed with emotions. It felt like freedom after being confined, and so that?s the experience I wanted to share with people.?

Despite the happiness he got out of this career change, the move did not sit well with many of his friends and family members.

?I gave up everything, and simply said to myself, ?I only have this one life - there are no other chances,?? Pierwola said. ?At one point, people told me I was crazy because I was giving up a lucrative career in a respectable field for something you didn?t need a high school education for. But this is what makes me happy, and what I had do was ? believe in myself.?

That?s an admirable sentiment. However, in this day and age, there are no guidebooks or step-by-step instructions on how to become a professional explorer. And if you were picking a subject to study for that kind of job, mathematics - Pierwola?s major - probably wouldn?t be near the top of your list.

Still, he said his time at Rutgers gave him valuable skills and knowledge to prepare him for what he?s doing now. The main thing he took from college was an understanding of the work ethic and dedication required to achieve his dream career.

?I didn?t waste any time when I was in college,? he said. ?All those skills and that work ethic I developed feed me [and allow me] to pursue my passion.?

Rutgers_Milo2Pierwola essentially forged his own path after leaving his career in law behind. With EXP Adventures, he?s able to fulfill his own aspirations and others? by helping them plan their dream expeditions. Through his company, he?s gone on trips ranging from surfing on the lush shores of Brazil to paddling down barely explored rivers in the most remote parts of Canada.

[btn-post-package]He?s managed to carve a living out of professional exploring, but Pierwola still holds to the claim that income isn?t nearly as important as having a life of passion and marching to the beat of your own drum. And the key to success in that context is never giving up.

?You will come across failures but something will happen, and you will figure it out,? he explained. ?The longer you believe in your goal, the closer you will get to it. That goal creates direction in your life. The path that you take there doesn?t matter.?

Follow Pierwola's latest expedition here.

By Alec Weine