We are joined this week by Steven and Jessica, a Canadian couple from Newfoundland, who after getting married decided to quit their jobs and take off to see the world. Is this just a quarter life crisis or will their travel for passion keep them on the road for longer than expected? I know I’ll be following them to find out!
Let’s find out why the left on their career break!
What type of job did you work prior to leaving?
We both had secure jobs at home in Canada, the kind that easily provided the cookie cutter, suburban North American lifestyle. Jessica is an accountant and was working in internal audit at a midsized public company. Steven worked as a Human Capital Consultant with a top international consulting firm. Steven spent most of his time travelling, but not the fun kind of travel!
While we have left the “9-5” for a little while (or 9-9 for Steven!), we were both lucky enough to get a Leave of Absence approved from our employers. It gives us the comfort to know that when we return, we won’t be homeless and unemployed!
When did you first consider leaving the 9-5 to go?
We get this question a lot, but more about how we were going to be able to go back to the 9 to 5. The first part of this answer is that we’ve never really had a 9 to 5 job since we graduated from university. Eight hours per day would be magic!
We’ve always talked about taking the leap to travel long term but we were never really serious about it. Taking a year off work to travel would be going against everything we had studied and worked hard for, and definitely not what our friends were doing …you know, buying houses and having babies.
[careful guys we just had our first baby! :)] – Caroline
2013 was a big year for us. We both turned the big 3-0 and got married. In December 2013, we took off for a month-long honeymoon to explore Australia’s east coast. We were able to cash in some of Steven’s hard-earned Air Canada Aeroplan points to get us there. We thought this would surely cure the travel bug we’d been fighting and we’d return from this trip ready to hop on the baby bandwagon.
We had a blast in Australia and at the same time, we started reading some travel blogs (including Traveling9to5!) about folks, much like us, who had left their comfortable, safe lifestyles at home and hit the road to see the world. The more we read, the more we realized that it was possible for us to do it as well. We arrived back in Canada from our honeymoon in early January, to the freezing cold we might add, and less than four months later and much to our friends and families’ surprise, we had sold our house and were ready to hit the road!
What was your biggest fear / obstacle you faced before leaving?
Before we made the decision to take our RTW trip, Jessica read a quote that really hit home with us and changed our outlook on how we wanted to live our lives.
The Dalai Lama, when asked what surprised him most about humanity, he said:
Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money.
Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health.
And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present;
The result being that he does not live in the present or the future;
He lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived”.
While our biggest fear in leaving was how this break from work would impact our careers, we were more concerned with what would happen to our spirits and happiness if we didn’t start living our life. Our way.
Since we are still on the road, we can’t really predict the impact the leave will have on our careers in the future, but we have a feeling it will be nothing but positive. In the end, we aren’t too worried because now we feel alive again. We are seeing new things, meeting new people and experiencing new cultures every day. We are pushing ourselves outside our comfort zones, facing our fears and most importantly, learning to be grateful for everything and anything that comes our way. Whenever we worry, we remind ourselves of the priceless memories and valuable skills we are gaining on this trip. Not to mention, we’re skipping winter this year!
What made you finally ‘just go’?
It was a balmy -10 Celsius and snowing on a Sunday afternoon in March 2014 when we found ourselves sitting at home, getting ready for another busy workweek. We started talking about “imagine if we just sold our house and went”… and that was the moment. We realized we could talk about it forever, but until we were 100% committed, a dream trip around the world would remain just that, a dream. So we decided that day we were going to do it, regardless of what obstacles we faced with work, family and friends. Jessica even stood on our couch in the middle of our living and did a little victory dance. Once we made that decision, we didn’t look back and couldn’t be happier!
[Jessica, I’d like a video of this victory dance please!]
Where are you now and what are you doing?
Right now, we are in Chiang Mai, Thailand. We’ve been on the road for just over four months, with 20 countries under our belts. We’re ready to stay put, for a few weeks at least. We plan to spend Christmas and New Years in Chiang Mai. Our goal is to spend time catching up on our blog, as we just finished up an incredible 20-day camping trip in Africa and have so many other stories to document and share from our travels.
We tend not to plan too far in advance, but we know early 2015 will see stamps from Vietnam and Indonesia in our passports. We haven’t booked a return flight home yet, likely just delaying the inevitable, but if there is one thing we know for sure, there is no cure for the travel bug. Once you’ve got it, you’ve got it for life!
Connect with Steven + Jessica: