The Second Time I Quit My Job to Travel
I did not always live the glamorous life of traveling to gymnastics meets, sleeping on a bunk bed, and living out of a backpack! Keep reading for the full authorized story!
The first time I attempted to travel the world, I chickened out. After spending months and months reading travel blog, trips, tricks, and staring at maps while at my soul sucking corporate finance job, I decided to quit. I would teach English in Korea or find some remote job I could do while I traveled to all the gymnastics meets I could find or something. I could not continue seeing the world from my two twenty-four inch computer monitors that I sat in front of for nine plus hours a day.
One Friday while training with literally the worst human of all time, I started crying angry tears, stormed into my boss’s office, and resigned. I had not completely fleshed out the idea of teaching English or working remotely or whatever but could not take the monotonous, mundane, irrelevant, unfulfilling, cog in the machine for the next forty years desk job life anymore. My boss declined my resignation and said he would give me a month or two to find a new position because he did not want me to be homeless or starving. After overcoming my shock at not being immediately kicked to the curb, I decided to give the travel life a trial run with a trip to Sofia, Bulgaria to visit a friend who was completing her own round the world trip.
I had only left the country once before when I went on a
party study abroad trip to the Dominican Republic and boarded the airplane for my first trip to Europe. I landed in Bulgaria, dragged my pink rolling luggage through the partially destroyed cobblestone streets of Sofia, and met up with Meredith at the hostel, which I immediately hated. It was tiny, grungy, and I had to leave the room to use the toilet (wah wah wah wah). The next day Meredith and I moved to an AirBnB and I began thinking about what my next move would be because maybe the travel life was not for me.
I considered all that I would have to leave behind if I were to travel. I had an insanely cheap apartment in an excellent area of Boston, I had a discount gym membership, my friends were all there, I had a bookshelf in my apartment that I had had since I was a child, the excuses could continue forever. I returned to Boston, let the real excuses such as fear of never working again and running out of money get the best of me, and shortly after I found another desk job. I decided to do more short term travel as opposed to living the travel life.
Fast forward to a year later when I found myself in the exact same position I had been in prior to quitting my old job. I spent all my time at work reading travel blogs and looking at pictures of foreign places and then spent a large part of my time outside of work watching documentaries on Netflix. I realized I would never be happy working a nine to five desk job, regardless of how many short term trips I took and during which I had stayed at some really nice hostels, which had made me rethink my initial hatred of the budget hotels, I would always wonder what would have happened if I tried the full time travel lifestyle.
I traveled to Glasgow for World Championships, during which I met a gymnastics coach who had quit coaching after being what she wanted to do with her life and if she knew what it was, when she was going to do it.
The coach’s voice asking “Well, when are you going to do it?” resonated in my head for the remainder of mt time in Scotland. I always wanted to travel everywhere and I realized I would never be at a better point in my life to do it. All my excuses from a year ago had disappeared. My apartment had become both more expensive and more crappy over the past year. I had injured my shoulder working at my joke of a desk job so it had been months and months since I had done gymnastics or even attended the group workout classes I used to enjoy so much. My family lived a two and a half hour plane ride away so they were not the ball and chain keeping me in Boston. I would never feel like I had enough money to travel so why keep waiting and hoping someday I would reach that magic amount. I realized my bookshelf was just a bookshelf. Did I want to sit there in 20 years and say I always wanted to travel but did not because I had a bookshelf? All the excuses that held me hostage seemed to have melted away.
I returned to the USA on a Sunday evening, went to work on Monday morning, and immediately cried, due to a combination of extreme exhaustion and hating my job and not wanting to be there even one tiny little bit. On Friday I cleaned out her desk then went to my annual review, during which my boss told me what a terrible job I had been doing at a job about which I did not care anyway. Obviously I was doing a terrible job, I had spent the whole summer working on my amazing gymnastics blog! I left the office for what I decided was the last time and immediately put into motion the plan I had been forming in my head for the past six months. I bought a plane ticket to visit my family, advertised my room in my apartment on Craigslist, quit my job, and started selling my furniture. I had already had a plane ticket back to Europe for two weeks from then and planned to cancel the return ticket.
Flash forward to today in a hostel in Vienna, Austria. I have been to Berlin, Prague, Brno for the Brno World Cup, Bratislava, Budapest, and have no plans to stop anytime soon. Also, I left my bookshelf in my apartment and can rest assured knowing my former roommates will take excellent care of it. Or chop it up for firewood. I honestly does not care.