Today is the day that I officially quit my job and say “YES!” to solo travel and new adventures.
Where am I headed next? No, I don’t know. But one thing for sure, it will be amazing and life changing. I plan to finally do my pilgrimage to El Camino de Santiago via Madrid. I plan to do volunteer work teaching english to kids either in Peru or in Thailand. I plan to attend workshops in travel writing to be a rockstar travel writer. I already committed my 2017 to a roadtrip visiting the national parks in Utah to Arizona and end up in Vegas. After that I plan to fly to South America to trek the Inca Trail and end up there at Machu Pichu.
After months of pondering, talking to people who have done it, research and consulting, I finally decided if my current job does not allow me to fulfill my dream of going on pilgrimage then I guess this is it for me. I am saying “YES” to a life of travel, new adventures and a new me.
So today, I packed my stuff, cleaned out my desk, composed and sent out my farewell email, said my goodbyes to everyone that I have worked with closely, hugged my closest friend and passed thru the glass doors for the last time. I received a lot of compliments about how courageous I am. My Whatsapp and my Facebook messenger is full of well wishers and goodlucks.
You’re reading this because you are curious and also eager to start a new life of solo travel. You want to say yes to new adventures but have no idea where to start or how to plan it out. After saying “YES!” to solo travel and new adventures, you might ask yourself, what next? From where you are sitting, things are a bit different from my situation. You may not even have to quit your job or maybe you are already travelling but only for quick getaways.
Whatever your case maybe, it all boils down to evaluating your options, covering yourself financially, checking in with your parents or your family and more importantly, having a back up plan.
Evaluate your options
Flashback to some 3 months ago, I consulted with our HR department what are my options if I want to go on longer holiday break to travel longterm. I wanted to go on a 2 month break to go on a pilgrimage in Europe, I wanted to walk the El Camino de Santiago to be exact. And the answer was “We don’t have a policy for these kinds of cases. We only allow immediate family emergencies to allow any staff to go on a long unpaid leave.”
I also contacted the visa office to check if they can accept my visa application without any supporting letter from our HR department. Since the answer is still a resounding NO, I decided to make a major life changing decision. So here I am, sitting in a coffee shop, writing this article, jobless but ready to take on the world.
Save up or sell your stuff
I have enough money saved up from my regular salary, something that can tide me over for another year, so thats more than enough for now. I don’t have any outstanding loans, no car mortgages, no huge bill to pay, no kids to send to school, no huge medical bills. So yeah, I’m going to be OK financially, for a while.
Some months leading to today, I started to put up some of my stuff for sale at an online buy and sell portal. I sold my more expensive bags and gadgets. Sold my mirrorless camera and my telephoto lens. I even got a very good deal for my photo printer and food processor. Even my old pilates DVDs, gym mat and gym ball went fast. I put the money I got from selling my stuff in my travel jar and to purchase travel gear that I know will be useful when I go trekking the mountains of Peru or northern Spain.
I started to cut down on my coffee, going to Starbucks only on days that I really need a perk up. No more dining out on weekdays, and less wine nights too. My new purchases were only made on travel gear that I know will be useful someday. No more branded stuff for me. Nowadays, if I see something new on the display window, in the back of my mind, I convert the price to a roundtrip ticket to somewhere else. Then off I go.
Check with your family
I composed a very lengthy email to my parents telling them of my decision to quit my job and go back home. I told them how much I love to get back on a plane again to somewhere. I told them how am I going to finance myself and live off on whatever small amount I have saved up. My email was full of love and travel plans.
My mom called me up and told me they read my email and that they were teary eyed. She told me that I have their full support. Of course, as parents, there is still small packets of fear tucked somewhere. This is evidenced by the loads of questions they have when we go on video call. But I assured them that I will be fine and that this is what I want to do. I guess being confident and having solid plans on how I will handle things and support myself, gave them a peace of mind too.
Family is still the best support system that anyone can have. So I made sure that I have their support and their prayers.
Have a back up plan
I evaluated myself and my skills. I was totally truthful and honest in plotting out the freelance jobs that I know I can offer out there. I listed all the options that I can do to earn money from the side while lying on the beach in southern Thailand. Aside from travel writing, I know in my heart that I can be pretty good at doing internet researching. So for starters I offered my services for free. I haven’t made any money from that one yet, but I’m on my way.
There’s also online trading which I can do practically from anywhere. I used to do some online trading years ago and I just need to brush up on my online trading skills and I’m good to go. Another option that I have laid out for myself and one that I am more sure that I can do is find an english teaching job. I’ve done my research and found that Europe and Asia have a high requirements for english teachers. And the pay is good too, enough for a decent living. Plus I get to travel more.
If all else fails, I can always go back to being a hamster running around in a wheel. But then there’s a pretty tiny percent of that happening in the future. Because I will work hard. Because this is what I want. Because this is my passion.
Over to you…
I have laid out months of planning that I did, how I saved up some money and sold my stuff to put in my travel jar, how I told my parents that I want a new life, how I laid out my back up plan, evaluated my skills so that can start out a new adventure. Now its your turn and ask yourself if this is something you can do.
If you are pondering whether going on a long-term travel or a new adventure is for you, all you need to do is look inside your heart.
Is this your passion?
Can you live with your decision?
Are you ready?
Take a deep breath and be honest with yourself. If you’re ready to be uncomfortable and be amazed at yourself and with the world, then I guess you already have your answer right there.
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