Left the comfortable life to pursue my travel dream.
My mind was racing with a hundred thoughts as I laid in my comfortable bed along with the safety of all that was familiar. I was incredibly excited for the next few months but also slightly anxious thinking about all the possible what-ifs associated with traveling long term. The days leading up to my departure were a mix of saying goodbye to loved ones, random emotional outbursts, packing up my apartment and reassuring my parents I wasn’t going to die.
As I was about to doze off, a quiet confidence overtook my spirit and reassured me this was the right decision. There was nothing I could do at this point so I thanked God for providing this incredible opportunity and fell asleep.
You see, I had decided a few weeks prior that I was going to leave my life in New York City—my home, my career, my friends, my life and all the comforts associated with it—to pursue my travel dream. It seemed like a slightly irrational decision being at the peak of my career and all, but this travel itch I had for years was not going away and I was not getting any younger!
Growing up, I did everything right—good grades, college, moved to NYC to build my career, nice apartment and great friends. Yet I always had this itch to go see the world. I’d joke with my friends about just leaving it all to go travel, but who actually does that?
How I did it
Looking back, I can see the threads of my life coming together, as if it was laid out before me and all I needed to do was step into it. I had to be brave and not let fear of the unknown hold me back. It got so much easier once I took the first step and let go of preconceived notions of what my life was supposed to look like.
Many of you have asked me how I did it financially and how I left the security of a paycheck. First off, I saved for years, not really knowing what I was saving for but had my “just in case” fund. It required a lot of discipline not spending frivolously, late nights freelancing on the side and bringing my lunch to work most days. Well, it “paid” off!
Secondly, a steady paycheck may feel secure but it could also act as a crutch for not taking chances. For example, what if you lost your job tomorrow and the “security” went away? The issue is more are you ready to leave the comforts that come with that paycheck—a steady career growth, a nice car or apartment, dinners out and short weekend getaways. (Note: I’m speaking from my experience living a NYC lifestyle without a spouse or children. If you have kids, keep your job. You have mouths to feed and responsibilities.) I’m not saying a steady life is bad, but if it’s the reason for holding you back from taking a risk or pursuing a dream—travel, a new business idea, getting married—then stop being afraid and go for it. You miss out on all the shots you don’t take.
Another question a lot of you have asked me is how I “did it”? Well, I kinda just did it. Yes, there was planning and preparation, but at the end of the day, I took the leap. You don’t need permission to do it. What are you afraid of? If you want to take off and travel while you’re young, go for it. If you’re not ready to leave your career completely, go on something like Remote Year. If you’re scared, you’re human, but don’t let it hold you back. You’ll be so much happier in the long run and can always get a job when you get back. Seriously, what’s the worst that could happen?
I met so many cool people on my journey the past few months that left their traditional jobs to travel the world. I have a collection of interviews I can’t wait to share that hopefully will inspire more of you to do the same.
Some examples of people I met:
– A successful lawyer who took a year off to travel, then came back and opened up her own practice
– Three friends who left the corporate life to roadtrip from NYC to Argentina
– Brothers who quit stable jobs to start a travel bag company
– An American Francophile from L.A. who moved to Paris to teach Americans about French culture
Once you take the leap you realize there are so many others in the same boat and you feel less crazy, as I did. If you have a story to tell I’d love to share it on this platform so others will see it’s not so scary or ridiculous.
I hope this nudged you in the right direction. Or kicked you in the butt. All this dream talk is not lame. It’s what we’re meant to be doing, or at least in the process of figuring out.
What are some things you’ve put in the back of your mind thinking will never happen? Do you need to dig them up again? What would some actionable steps look like to reaching that goal? Is it finding ways to save money? Talking to your boss about remote ways of working? Finally planning that trip you’ve always wanted to go on with your wife? Or getting over what’s expected of you to pursue the extraordinary?
Keep dreaming, dreamers! Look here for more practical and inspirational resources in the coming months. As always, let me know if I can help in any way.