Three years ago today I got a phone call telling me I could leave a job that had caused me chronic stress and had for a long time been chipping away at my self-esteem and confidence. It had been a rough year in the build up to that phone call, but actually it hadn’t even just been a rough year, it had been a rough number of years (most of my twenties) where I spent almost all of my time working and then being too exhausted to do anything else when I wasn’t.
Compare that to the last two years of my life where I wake up every morning and can do whatever I want with my time, haven’t been stressed in ages and my biggest decisions consist of what place I want to see next or if I want to stay still for a while.
My life is now the weekend, but that couldn’t be further from what my life used to be in like.
Celebrating my third birthday while traveling with a Hawaiian themed party
I remember being asked in a job interview once what I do on Sundays and all I could think was “WTF? I don’t do anything on Sunday. Sunday is for sleeping, getting over hangovers by eating your entire body weight in food whilst binge watching TV and then freaking out about the fact that you have to go back to work tomorrow”. And that was the good Sundays. The other option was that I was working to ensure I would actually have enough time to do everything that would be expected of me that week but was in fact impossible to fit in the number of waking, let along working, hours available.
“We all inevitably work too hard, then we get burned out and have to spend the weekend in our pyjamas, eating cereal straight out of the box and staring at the TV in a mild coma (which is the opposite of working, yes, but not exactly the same thing as pleasure). ”
That’s how I spent most of my weekends in my twenties.
When I got that phone call three years ago, it wasn’t the start of my travels but it was the beginning of the end. It was the beginning of the end of me revolving my entire life around work, of being constantly stressed and worried, of putting my career before everything else, of forgetting what it was like to be me.
It was the start of all actions I took in the following 9 months being geared towards achieving my goal of jacking it all in and going traveling.
Celebrating my first birthday while traveling on the Khaosan Road in Bangkok for which I dyed my hair pink simply because I could
When I decided to go traveling it actually almost wasn’t even a decision by that point. I’d let my job take over my life for so long that by then I knew I had to go do something just for me. I desperately needed and craved the freedom of just being able to be a person again where your life isn’t consumed by stress and worry and you can choose what you want to do each day.
I’ve been on the road for over two years now (two years, two months and 13 days to be precise) and it has given me my life back.
Celebrating my second birthday on the road in Bali
Traveling didn’t just change my life, it transformed it. Not because I went on some deep spiritual discovery on my travels but because it gave me the freedom to just focus on me for once and do what makes me happy. We don’t generally get to do that as adults. There’s all that pesky “adulting” that usually gets in the way. Traveling is one of the few things I can think of as an adult that allows you to step out of that and just be a person again. Not a person who’s working, achieving, striving or building, just a person.
I needed that more than most before I left to travel.
I dread to think where I’d be now if I hadn’t made the decision to travel long-term and just focus on myself. Most people freak out as they get older, I certainly did when I turned 26 and 27 but it now doesn’t bother me in the slightest because I’m not worrying about “oh I should be there by now or doing this or having this”. All I know is that I’m the happiest I’ve ever been right now. I’ve had three birthdays whilst away on my travels and not one of them has bothered me because if this is what being 29/30 or now 31 feels like then BRING IT ON.
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Hey, welcome to my site
I'm Chantell. I quit my job to travel in 2014 and it's one of the best decisions I've ever made. I know first hand how hard it can be to get everything in place in order to be able to travel, to know what to pack and where to go, let alone how best to go about your travels once on the road. Here I share everything I've learnt so far so you don't have to learn through as much "trial and error" as I did.
I'd love to hear about your journey, share your travel moments with #TravelForYourLife on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.