It took me almost a month to finally get my story on the blog. My last day was right before Christmas.
Today, I quit the job that was the culmination of all my hard work through high school and college. I stressed, studied and worried about whether I would have a good enough job, make enough money, or be set on the right career path. It was much harder for me to quit than I thought it would be. I had a great job and learned many things, but if it had been perfect you probably wouldn’t be reading this blog today.
Today I have taken the biggest risk in my life so far
Every decision in my life has been calculated, always playing it safe. This caused me to be hesitant at first. How would I explain the gap on my résumé? Had we saved enough to cover the cost of the trip and to have some cushion for when we get back? Even after making our decision, I second-guessed my answers to the above questions. Despite the uncertainty, I knew that I wanted to take more risks in my life. Not in a reckless way, but taking steps to mitigate the risk and just relying on faith for the rest.
I know that we are meant to take this trip based on how everything has fallen into place, more than I would have ever expected. Our savings were there, we were debt-free, and our landlord even let us out of our two year-lease. The opportunity was there and it was ours to take advantage of. When I tell the story of my life, I want to look back and know I confidently took a step forward through every open door instead of taking a step back into line with the status quo. There will be risks, but they are far outweighed by the potential benefits.
Quitting my job was the definitive turning point in the pre-trip planning. Sure, getting our tickets was a big step, but in a worst-case scenario, we could probably cancel the tickets and get our miles back. We could sell or return the gear we bought, we could find a new apartment, and continue on with our jobs like it was only a crazy dream. But after today, I can’t just go back to my job so easily. What’s done is done, and although I would be welcomed back, my fire is lit and this trip is driving me towards a great adventure. If I wasn’t already committed to the trip (I was), I had better be now.
What it’s been like since…
I’ve realized how many things are easily taken for granted when you have a good job. My cell phone, health/dental/life insurance, 401k, and a steady paycheck to name a few. I don’t have direct deposit anymore which means my checking account is going to start charging me fees. Visa and credit applications now ask me a startling question: “Name of Employer?” Even though I am the same person I was when I had a job, on paper I now look completely different. I didn’t anticipate how…weird it would feel to be purposefully unemployed in a society that revolves around work.
The first question someone asks when meeting a new person is usually, “What do you do?” We define ourselves and each other by what we do to earn money. While still here in the U.S. my new answer is not generally acceptable: “I am taking a year to travel the world. To learn and grow by experiencing everything new to see, taste, smell and hear outside of my comfort zone.” This should tell you more about me than merely, “Consultant.”
I am happy and looking forward to the future. Planning an RTW trip is a full-time job, but it’s my favorite job I have ever had.