Quit the standard job to travel more

This blog is documenting an adventure…an adventure of leaving cushy corporate jobs behind to live daringly. We are trying to re-think the assumptions we were raised with to pursue a happier more connected life than the one we were taught would lead to security and happiness. Here are 5 few reasons to leave it all behind and quit your job to travel.

#1.  Tired of being tired & sick of being sick

Sunday night: the stress ruminates, preparing us for the chaos Monday will bring. Arguments break out, tears are shed and the very thought of returning to work in the morning feels overwhelming. Another exhausting week ahead and not enough time to catch up.

Monday: wake up too late, rush out the door in a fit of panic, commute 1-2 hours depending on traffic, work 8-12 hours, commute home, then drop into bed for an hour of tv.

It feels like every few weeks we were calling into work because we are sick, all the time. A minor cold can often turn into being out of work for 3-4 days, or worse, the entire weekend. Our bodies seem to be too tired to heal themselves. And we are only 30!

We are told this is just “how it is” for the next… 40 years?!  Really? No way!

We are waking up to the fact this grind is not creating meaning or happiness.

This is counting down the years until we could retire and enjoy ourselves. This is wasting our short lives in order to fill the pockets of someone else. This is no longer working.

#2.  Commuting Sucks.

We happen to live near a city we love: San Francisco. There are lots of lovely things about it. There are some really interesting and fun people, great weather, beautiful scenery, delicious food, abundance of jobs and economic opportunity, the list can go on and on.

Commuting sucks, however.

We’ve tried it all.

We’ve rode to work on bicycles, owned a moped, lived near and commuted via the CalTrain, taken Bart, rode the bus, rode a Fancy Tech Bus down to Silicon Valley..bought a car to drive down to Silicon Valley because driving is faster than taking the bus…We literally have tried it all.

Except flying or self-driving cars.

We’ve have lived and had jobs all over San Francisco and the Peninsula. No matter how we’ve sliced living in or around the San Francisco Bay Area, the commute is a huge hassle.

Great jobs and great places to live seem to be connected with a bit of a hectic commute.

What this means is that even if we have a good day at work, we come home tired, grumpy, and exhausted.

#3.  Everything we owned, eventually owned us

We are living the American Dream. We work hard, we earn promotions and opportunities at work. When we met, one of us was a starving artist living in the Mission (back when that was affordable and edgy), and the other a was a waitress working her way through grad school. We were scraping by with odd jobs and flexible schedules. Then we both got “professional” jobs.9-6 + salary + benefits! Congrats! We had made it! This meant we could get an apartment. An apartment meant we needed furniture. We realized we weren’t really saving any  money, so we got better jobs; new jobs meant we needed cars to get there… the cycle continued.

As our incomes grew, somehow, so did our expenses. Even though we are both experiencing growth in our careers, we feel like we keep getting farther and farther behind. Student loan principles keep going up, not down. Somehow our credit card debt keeps creeping back up. Now we have a mortgage, so we have to keep our jobs, no matter what. We felt owned by our jobs, because without them we couldn’t afford our house. Working on our house took over our weekends, our house owned us too.

Pretty soon, we realized that all these possessions, these “accomplishments” were adding more stress than contentment. How is this happening?

We realize that being able to have bigger jobs and afford nicer stuff, isn’t really serving who we are or want to be at our core. There is nothing wrong with owning a house in the suburbs, commuting to good jobs at organizations we believe in. But something about this equation isn’t adding up for us.

#4. We wanted to live adventurously, instead of vicariously.

In our leave-at-7, get-home-at-7 days, it seemed all we have time to do during the week was gobble some dinner, and drop into bed for an hour or so of TV…or for us, who don’t own a real TV, this means cuddling up with our laptops in bed watching Netflix or Hulu…or HGTV online.

Ahh yes, to escape to Italy with House Hunters International, or to build houses, renovate houses, decorate houses, sell houses, or live in a Tiny house…all with the assorted other shows we enjoy. If we aren’t building houses with our imaginations, we are trekking through the wilderness in Alaska.

Oh, I know there are more things we could be doing on weekends. We could be going out and doing workout classes or epic hikes and ski trips…but for some reason we aren’t. Why? See reason #1: we are too damn tired. Instead we settle for living vicariously through TV after a long day at work and commuting on the road.

What if we spent our time living out the lives we watch on TV?

What if we lived the adventures in Alaska, or flipping houses or living in a Tiny House?

What would THAT life look like?

#5. – Why waste the best years of our lives working hard for someone else?

Thirty. The age of weddings, baby showers, engagement parties, and adults talking about adult things like office politics, career changes, retirement plans, and long term savings.

We talk about planning, saving, and, someday in many years, retirement.

Now, 30 for some reason feels a lot differently than 20. Two drinks means a headache the next day, or the need for extra hours of sleep. An hour less of sleep equals three more cups of coffee the next day.We can’t just live off unlimited adrenaline like we did in our 20’s. Knees hurt when we twist them and joints seem to creak a little differently than they once did. And we’re only 30.  What will 65 look like?

Now by all means, we have high hopes that we will be able bodied 65 year olds hiking mountains and traveling the world. But who knows? Nothing in this life is a guarantee. The one thing we do have is here and now, why waste it?

We want to invest our time and energy into bettering ourselves and the world around us.  Taking the years we have, the years we know we are alive and healthy, to live.

We saw a bumper sticker the other day that said “youth is wasted on the young” and we believe it.

Author

140 Comments

  1. Grace Taylor Reply

    Hell yes! I love how honest this is! Sometime ‘the dream’ isn’t YOUR dream, glad that you’re taking the initiative and leaving it all behind for all of thw right reasons.

  2. Hi Sweeties,
    You are my heroes! GO FOR IT! Looking forward to following your adventures! I’ll live vicariously AND be fit/healthy climbing /skiing mountains at 65 (well 58 right now). Valerie, you know I’m rooting for you my dear; you’re the bravest, most , and hard-working young woman I know (next to my daughter). I love reading your blog, such great self reflection. You might like this recent Time’s article:
    4 Ways to Find More Meaning in Life There’s a difference between happiness and meaning http://time.com/4524909/4-ways-to-find-more-meaning-in-life/?xid=emailshare
    Happy travels!
    Kitty

    • Thanks so much Kitty!! What a wonderful article 🙂 Anything like this you want to send our way I’d love it! This year is meant to, more than anything else, help us find meaning. Thanks so much for sharing and your kind words.

  3. Hi Valerie, you made my day with this post! #5 is the reason that I quit my professional job and started my own travel blogging and freelance career. During the part year, I dont have a steady stream of livable income and had to resort to freelance work and my savings, but I was so free and happier. I learned another language, took the travel writing class, started blogging, traveled to so many beautiful places and meet so many wonderful people. None of these will happen if I stayed in my old jobs for security. I started see that first time in my life I had a total control of my own life, and I totally love one sentence I have come across: what we lost in payment, we made up in life. Thanks for being such an inspiration.

    • Hey Julie. Thanks for this wonderful comment! Wow, you made my day. The thing is, more and more people are doing it- it IS possible, as your story shares! Thank you for sharing your story and being my inspiration today as well.

  4. Well we have a cooking blog I’m a chef of 35+ years ready to break out and see new territory. To old to stay put in the same ole place, time for a game plan! great blog followed you across social media, thank you 🙂

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