This week I gave my boss advance notice of my intention to quit my job and go travelling early next year. What has surprised me is how little fear I’ve felt about taking this step. What I’m walking away from is not just a job but also a career that I have worked hard to build up over 12 years. This post details the five main reasons why I’m taking this leap.
1. To live with integrity
The late and inspirational Steve Jobs once said:
I have looked at myself in the mirror every morning and asked myself, ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’ and whenever the answer is ‘no’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.
With his recent passing, this quote has been cited a lot and it has had an impact on me every time I’ve read it. The answer to this question for me has been ‘no’, not just for too many days in a row but for too many years. For me living with integrity is being able to answer that question with a loud and enthusiastic ‘YES!’
I’ve wanted to travel the world since I was about 12 years old. Such was my interest in unknown places that my Aunty bought me a subscription to the National Geographic Magazine for my birthday. As a twelve-year-old, I looked through the stunning photographs of far-flung places and I made a promise to myself that I would make it my mission to visit as many of them as possible.
I know from first hand experience that spending eight hours a day doing something that differs from what you really want to do is not only soul-destroying, but also unnecessary. Walking out of my boss’s office on Monday knowing that for the first time ever I was about to start living the life I’ve always dreamed of is actually indescribable, precisely because it’s like nothing I’ve ever felt before.
2. To connect with people
Since I started blogging earlier this year, I have connected with many wonderful people online and have been surprised and delighted to learn that there are so many people out there with similar dreams and ideas about life as me.
A few of these people I’ve met in person, but most I communicate with solely through the Internet. Travelling not only allows me the time and space to connect with more people in person but also the freedom to visit people who live in other parts of the world that I otherwise wouldn’t get to meet.
A journey is best measured in friends, rather than miles. ~ Tim Cahill
Many of these people are living their dreams and have made it a priority to find their passion and purpose and live their lives according to that purpose. A huge reason to travel for me is so that I will have the time to talk to, hang out with and learn from the change-makers out there, the people who live their lives to make life better for other people and the people who inspire me and motivate me to do the same.
I also want to meet with people who want to make changes in their lives but for some reason or another struggle to do so. I want to share my journey with them in the hopes that they can see just how rewarding following your dreams can be and just how possible change is.
Having spent 10 years working for charities with the sole aim of doing work that helps people in need, but actually spending all of my time sat at a desk looking at a computer, I now have the opportunity to go out into the world and actually meet those people and that excites me massively.
3. To expand my comfort zone
Right now my life is pretty comfortable. I live in a nice flat share, I have a well-paid job and I live in a great and vibrant city by the sea. I have wonderful friends who I spend time doing fun and interesting things with and aside from the fact that I have a job I don’t enjoy, I totally love my life.
To my mind this makes for the perfect time to travel. I don’t want to travel because I’m running away from a life I don’t love. I want to travel because I want to feel 100% alive and to do that I need to experience everything that life has to offer. I don’t want to get so comfortable that I take life for granted.
To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted. ~ Bill Bryson
I was talking recently to some friends about my plans to visit India. They had both spent time travelling around India and started by telling me how wonderful a place it was and how essential it was that I went there. They then proceeded to tell me in detail of the horrors that they had encountered: the poverty, the disease, the filth and the overwhelming culture shock that they suffered. This might seem like a contradiction to some people but for me it made perfect sense.
I feel I have a duty to step outside of my comfortable life and really experience the world and all it has to throw at me, the good and bad, the beautiful and ugly and the gentle and brutal. For me to pretend such things don’t exist by avoiding opening my eyes to them feels cowardly.
Traveling is a brutality. It forces you to trust strangers and to lose sight of all that familiar comfort of home and friends. You are constantly off balance. Nothing is yours except the essential things – air, sleep, dreams, the sea, the sky – all things tending towards the eternal or what we imagine of it. ~ Cesare Pavese
4.To live a life of adventure
Adventure is a path. Real adventure – self-determined, self-motivated, often risky – forces you to have firsthand encounters with the world. The world the way it is, not the way you imagine it. Your body will collide with the earth and you will bear witness. In this way you will be compelled to grapple with the limitless kindness and bottomless cruelty of humankind – and perhaps realize that you yourself are capable of both. This will change you. Nothing will ever again be black-and-white. ~ Mark Jenkins
This quote says it all for me. I’m always stunned when I hear people talk of being bored, to me the world is like the ultimate playground in which there are so many rides that sometimes I don’t know which to go on first. For me travel carves out the necessary space to play and explore in a way that feels absolutely essential to me.
5. To focus on what matters
I have plans to make my mark on this world and I want to do that by helping people, I want to help people grow, to face their fears, to live their dreams and to be the best that they can be. Giving up a job that takes up most of my day, allows me the time and space to focus on my true purpose.
Not having a regular income and relying on my savings to see me through, also forces me to forge a new way of making money that is both rewarding and worthwhile. Travelling around the world provides me with an opportunity to work out how I can best serve the world and the people in it. I get to focus on my writing and building a business that helps others at the same time as earning enough money to eat!
Even a year ago, I didn’t have the courage to do something as bold as quit my job to just go and travel but I’ve learned so much recently about how to find that courage and use it to make the best of my life. For the first time, I feel like I don’t need a back-up plan and that all I need to do is trust myself and all will be as it should be. With this in mind, my ultimate goal is to share what I learn on this journey with you.
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. ~ Mark Twain
I’d love to know what you think of my plans, any suggestions you have for places I should visit or people I should connect with and if you like what I’ve written, please don’t forget to share it by using one of the buttons below.