I quit, and when i look around me now, everything has changed.
I quit my job. I quit my normal life.
When our plans to go backpacking indefinitely became public knowledge, everything changed.
People look at me and talk to me differently. They see me differently.
I see myself differently.
I am not emigrating, or chasing a new place of residence. Rather, I am chasing no place of residence.
I am becoming a nomad.
In a few days time, we’ll leave. We’ll leave with no worldly possessions that can’t fit in a backpack. My best friend is my husband of almost four years. Most people have been so supportive and have really understood our decision.
I quit living to work and working to live. I quit working 12 hour days to be too tired after work to enjoy the home it affords us.
I want to see the world. And once a year for the three weeks of paid leave, is not gonna cut it.
Nothing about this decision has been easy. It has meant walking away from my job and career which i have spent many years cultivating. It meant walking away from family, from friends, from beloved pets and every comfort I have ever known.
I was taught, like the rest of the world, to get a job and join the rat race.
The rat race no longer serves me.
It was difficult to quit. I am not leaving my company because I hated my work or couldn’t stand my colleagues. I loved my job. It challenged me in great ways, and some of the people are like family to me.
Not to mention the security it afforded me.
I had worked for my company for 5 years, over two tenures. They had been good to me. They had supported my growth.
But, I would die with regrets unless I fulfilled one big goal.
I have dreamed about travel for so long. And I am doing it. I have made it happen. Some people think this decision is too risky. But the biggest risk you can take in life is to not follow your dreams, to not chase what your soul cries out for, go for it with everything you have.
We did. Selling everything we owned and packing up our lives was not easy.
I knew that we’d do everything in our powers to make it work. We had lots of stuff we could sell and we would make it work. We’re risking it all on a bet. And my bet is on experiences meaning much more than things and titles ever will. I have placed my bet.
Whether I win the hand or not, I am 100% sure that i’d regret not doing it much more than i would ever regret giving it all i had.
If after a year I realize that I don’t want to do it anymore, i can go back to the real world and pick up again having gained amazing memories and life experiences no one can ever take away from me.
But if i don’t do this, i will always wonder what my life would have been like if i had lived each day following my true passion.
It’s always been there
I have a very vague recollection of seeing a stereotypical, almost caricature-like gypsy when I was very young. For some reason I think I saw one in Europe when I went with my mom and sister as a small child..
But I was very young and I wonder whether this image was burned in my brain thanks to the amazing gift known as the imagination. Possibly my perception over time has painted that memory in my mind as if it were my own, yet it is merely stolen from the lines of a story, or from within the script of a movie.
I did not dwell on this image or pay it any mind during my upbringing. But when I do think of it, it is clear that something stuck with me. Something about the thought of a gypsy always conjured up a different-than-any-other emotion for me.
See the world outside of your bubble
Roughly halfway through my teen years I started dreaming about the world. I started dreaming about how food tasted in other countries. I dreamt about the adventures that the open road held, about how sunsets were celebrated on distant shores and about which night sky lit up the brightest. I wanted to know how the sand on the other side of the equator felt like between my bare toes.
What is life like outside of a bubble? I want to know the world and its story, to know it more deeply than I ever could without going and exploring it for myself. And let’s face it, most of us live our lives in a bubble. It’s not good enough to dream about the world anymore. I want to know it.
I look around me now, and everything has changed.
I am starting this blog with the intention of documenting our journey.
I want to inspire others to travel. To not be afraid of the world. I want people to know that they do not have to follow society’s rules and timelines. Do what makes you happy. Explore.
Documenting every fear, every pathway, every destination, every triumph and every failure.
My soul yearns for a creative outlet. I need to feel the rhythm of music move through me, and the pulse of a dance take hold of me. To see in full colour, and to share and feel and explore with complete abandon. And that is what this blog will be for me. My outlet. My story.
I quit, and when I look around me now, everything has changed.
The journey ahead
My expectations for what lie ahead, for what long-term travel will be like, these expectations which always seemed so clear, have been shattered.
Although I have imagined it so well, now it’s happening and the unknown is all that lies ahead of me now.
The surreal nature of this moment, makes it so that I can no longer have any expectations. I will walk away in a few days with nothing but a one-way ticket and a dream. Everything I take, I can carry in my backpack.
My passport will become an essential document needed daily, rather than that important document you need when you occasionally get ‘lucky enough’ to use it.
I don’t believe in luck.
Every decision, however conscious or subconscious, has led me here. I have made decisions, worked hard and sacrificed a lot to do this. To have this experience. I don’t think this was luck.
I’ve heard a few people say “You’re so lucky”, I have always had to take a step back and analyse the merits of luck. Is this (insert life event) happening to me because of luck? Is luck a thing? Or did I work for this? Did I make decisions that made this happen? Or did a four-leaf clover grant the luck needed for this (insert life event) to happen?
Life passes us by so quickly
I look back at my life 10 years ago, and everything has changed drastically. Yet it feels like yesterday. Six years ago. Completely different. I look back three years, Everything. A year ago? It has all changed.
I am amazed at how fast life passes us by and how quickly things change. Each moment, when in the moment, seems long and drawn out. Every emotion, tangible.
However, when we look at our lives in hindsight, every perception and every memory changes. It all seems like it went by so fast, every moment was fleeting.
I don’t want to have this regret in my last breath.
None of us will be buried with our fancy sports cars or our bank balance. In the end, i know i will never look back on my life and say “I wish I worked more”. Never.
When my time comes, I want to know that I saw the world. That I danced in the rain. Kissed the boy. Spoke my peace. Explored the cave. Embraced the unfamiliar. Loved.
Where we’ve come from
I moved out of home 10 years ago at the age of 18. I worked my first part time gig at the age of 15. I’ve been working ever since.
Henry and I have been together for about six years. When we first started out, we had been living together already. Shortly after we started dating, we moved out of the commune we were running and got our own place together. What a sh*t hole. We were proud.
We also lied to estate agents about our employment and affordability to get into that sh*t hole. Henry and i had just started dating and had our lives turned upside down during our first few months together. We’ve come a long way together. We spoke of traveling all the time.
Fast forward to today, we’ve been married for almost four years, and since the start of our six year relationship we have…
Moved homes 4 times. Buried 5 family members. Worked ungodly hours of corporate grind. Together we are one start-up business down, 6 employment changes/promotions further into our careers, 8 short-courses and 1 bachelor’s degree richer. And we own two homes.
We have loved and hated each other more fiercely than my 6-year-younger-self could have ever comprehended possible.
Above all else, my definition of success has changed.
I no longer measure myself against society’s expectations for my life and its strict timelines. Although i always knew (intellectually knew) that things and titles didn’t mean anything.
Now, I know. Now, I feel it. I get to live my dream with my best friend.
I quit, and when i look around me now, everything has changed.