That Time I Quit My Job to Travel

I calmed my nerves enough to stop from shaking uncontrollably as I took that fateful walk–ten feet from my cubicle to my boss’ office. This part is always the worst–the overwhelming anxiety over, and the insurmountable guilt for what is about to transpire.

“Do you have a few minutes?”

“..sure.” (Does she already suspect what’s coming next?)

“I have made the difficult decision to leave this position. I have very much enjoyed working here and with all of you, and appreciate everything you have done for me over the past three years. I just feel it’s time for me to move on–not just from this job, but from this state. So, with that said, my last day will be August 30th.”

One day, I'm going to get out of here and I'm going to see the world

After months of unhappiness in my current situation in life, I decided that it’s time to move on. And what better way to do that than to travel? I’ve pondered this decision on and off for years–taking a break from my career to do what makes me happiest: seeing the world. It’s never felt like the right time to do it. I think it’s probably much the same with having children: there isn’t necessarily a right time. There’s just a time that feels right. And that time is now.

life begins at the end of your comfort zone

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t scared shitless at the thought of leaving. But I think that’s exactly why I need to do it. There’s no growth in comfort or complacency. As much as I’ve loved Austin and the life I’ve built for myself here, I’ve been verging on stagnation. And honestly, there is nothing scarier to me in the world than feeling stuck.

That fear of feeling stuck was what got me to Austin in the first place. I felt like I was drowning in Pennsylvania, repeating the same bad decisions day in and day out, falling into a routine that I recognized as unhealthy. Now, six years later, I feel the same pattern beginning in Austin. I know that this is less a product of my environment and more an issue with myself, but I also have to believe that part of it is due to the unhappiness of living a lifestyle that just doesn’t feel “normal” to me.

travel quote sherlock holmes

So for the past year, I’ve struggled: is the fear of the unknown greater than the fear of continuing on a path to complacency and comfort? One of my best friends told me a few months back that I am not the Megan she truly knows if I don’t choose the harder path in life (and relationships); I’ll never choose something that’s easy, instead always choosing the challenge. And so, in the end, she’s right: the fear of the unknown is the challenge, and the complacency is debilitating.

I’ve grown weary over the anxiety of making this decision and finally putting everything into play. I am scared, yes, but I also feel like this is what I need to spark some life in myself again. For months I have been barely scooting by, a shell of my former self, fretting over every single life choice. I am excited by the prospect of going somewhere where I don’t know anyone, having to figure things out for myself on the fly, and pushing myself mentally, emotionally, and physically. I am excited to explore, to feed my insatiable curiosities, and to maybe find a career that makes me happy along the way.

wanderers sagan

My journey will begin with a road trip from Austin to Pennsylvania, where I’ll be catching up with friends and family in Little Rock, Nashville, Philadelphia, New York City, and Pittsburgh. Then I’ll head to Scotland on September 10th. From there, I’ll explore Italy for a bit with my friend, Cindy, before heading to Dublin in October for my second TBEX conference. After that, I have no set plans, just ideas: back to Iceland to fulfill my dream of seeing the Northern Lights over Jökulsárlón; traipsing around the Baltic states with my friend, Danial; seeing some Christmas markets in Germany and Czech Republic; having a birthday bash for one in some sort of luxurious fashion (I hope); and celebrating Hogmanay in Edinburgh! After that, I honestly have no idea what the future holds for me, and for once, I’m embracing that unknown instead of running straight for the Xanax (though, let’s be honest, it’s close by).

I can’t wait for this journey and hope that you’re all as excited as I am to follow along and to maybe meet up with me somewhere along the way! As always, I’ll be posting my real-time updates on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

All images found on Pinterest.

87 thoughts on “That Time I Quit My Job to Travel

  1. There’s alot of things I want to say but mostly I think this is the right decision for you.
    BUT
    You best stay in touch!

  2. Good for you. You’re never too young or too old to follow your heart. I think the best time to make a decision that is focused on getting a person in a place in this world that makes more sense is now. Like you said about having kids, you’re never ready for it. You can never save enough money, or do enough things before he arrives. You just have to dive in and do it. Take the consequences as they come and just go with it.
    Lance | Trips By Lance recently posted..Family Fun in Paris’ Luxembourg GardensMy Profile

    • Thanks, Lance! And I agree–everything has sort of lined up to make this the “right” moment for me to travel, so I would’ve been stupid to pass it by.

  3. This is so awesome – congrats to you! We know exactly how you feel. My husband and I are planning to do this a year from now (have to get some things in order first) and we just can’t wait!

    I’m sure you feel both relieved and excited. Looking forward to hearing all about it!

    Happy travels!
    Liz
    http://Www.PeanutsOrPretzels.com

    • Thanks, Liz! And believe me, I totally understand getting things in order first. It’s a huuuuge undertaking to do something like this, and your excitement (and stress) will grow as it gets closer and closer! :)

    • Thanks, Meagan! And I can’t wait to get back to Scotland! It was my favorite of all the places I visited last year.. so I can’t wait to dive in a bit more.

      I also totally agree about the Christmas markets! I cannot wait for that experience! :)

  4. Wow, wish you the best of luck. it is always the hardest step. You’ll be back with new skills, new ideas, new dreams. There is always “work” to be done, it never ends so you need to always be the one to make the change. Very inspiring too, hope to follow along with how things go. Love the blog
    A recently posted..Into the Eastern Desert – Part 1My Profile

    • Thanks, Tammy!! And I definitely plan on tasting the many mulled wines from each of the markets I attend. It’s one of the things I most look forward to! :)

    • Thanks so much, Emma! :) You’re so sweet and I’m so grateful to have gotten to know you over the past couple of months. I’m sad that I won’t get to see you in Europe this time around, but I seriously hope we’ll get to have some fun adventures in the future!! :)

    • Thank you, Eileen! And I love hearing success stories like yours. So happy it all worked out for you–hoping I’ll have a similar story soon enough. ;)

  5. Congrats my dear! Working up the nerve to deliver my resignation was one of the most difficult things I did last year, so I can absolutely relate to this. You will have an amazing journey. It will not always be smooth sailing, but you will be living the life that you dreamed of, and most definitely unstuck and out of your rut. Can’t wait to see you in Europe!
    Steph | A Nerd At Large recently posted..The Niagara Butterfly Conservatory ExperimentMy Profile

    • Thanks so much, Steph! Being at the BlogHouse was the final push that I needed to do it. Talking to so many people who had quit their jobs to take the plunge into travel/blogging made me realize that it wasn’t quite as crazy as I’d made it out to be. Having all your support and encouragement helped me realize it was the right thing for me. :) Looking forward to seeing you in a just a couple weeks!

  6. Congratulations on big decisions and following your heart. I love that you recognize when a change is needed and take the steps even though it’s scary – not everyone is brave enough to do that! Looking forward to following along!
    Jay recently posted..Fjøløy LighthouseMy Profile

  7. Massive congrats!! I did the same over 2 years ago – best thing I ever did – you won’t regret it! Even if it doesn’t work out (which it should if you want it bad enough – sounds like you do) but even so, the worst is you have had an amazing time, learnt a lot, and start again. No biggie :-)

    Honestly I’m so excited for you – all the best of luck. Go live your life xxx

    Emilymeetsworld.com
    Emily | emilymeetsworld.com recently posted..My Eureka Moment – Travel Inspiration Guest PostMy Profile

    • Thank you, Emily! And I agree–even if it doesn’t work out, it’ll still be a great adventure. And I won’t look back on this time and wonder “what if?”

  8. Good for you, Megan. I know you will always land on your feet, and you have many friends around the world to help with the foundation when we can. You may be exploring new things alone at times, but we are only a phone call or web post away.

    Even though we don’t talk much anymore, I’m here for you always if you need me.

  9. I’m VERY proud of you. You have a great deal of courage that will grow with every step you take. Remember what Helen Hayes said: “He who rests, rusts”

  10. Congrats for having the courage to recognize that you’re not happy and doing something about it! I know all too well about staying in a job I hate, afraid to pursue my dreams because I’m too scared of the unknown.

    Best of luck!

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  13. I just found your blog. Great post. This week I also quit my job and will follow my dreams in September this year. I can totally relate to everything you said. The way to my boss was the hardest part of everything, it was like the final decision, no turning back. But now after talking to her, I feel so much better, so free and am excited about the months that lay ahead of me.
    Stef recently posted..Impressions: Scenic bus ride through the Andes, from Mendoza to Santiago de ChileMy Profile

  14. Just found your blog recently and was curious as to how your adventure began! Now I know – kudos to you! Looking forward to reading more about where you’ve been, where you are now, and where you’re going next.
    Katrina recently posted..Destination: LondonMy Profile

  15. So I just found your blog and am reading it while in a cubicle. I can’t say I hate my job, but I love the idea of letting it all go in search for something more. Love reading about how stories started…and who knows, maybe I’ll take that leap! Sounds amazing. Thanks for your blog…about to go read more!

    • Thanks, Helen! So glad you found my blog and can relate so much. I’m sure you’ll have a wonderful career break and will have some of the most amazing experiences imaginable!

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  19. Great post! I have been thinking the same thing for some time now. I really want to travel and see the world, I have the money to travel but my only concern is what will I do when I run out of money?? go back home and get another job? will I find another job?

    I am trying to justify the reason to leave a good job to travel and see the world.

    Thanks for sharing on how you did it!

    • I think you need to be smart about it. If you work in the type of career where jobs are relatively easy to come by, then I say go for it! I traveled for several months and was able to find a job quite easily when I got home. It’s definitely possible, you just have to ensure you’re prepared for that!

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  21. I made this fateful walk to my bosses office as well and after that I had anxiety for the first time in my life. Heart pounding for no reason, couldn’t sleep, no appetite. Was I making the right decision? And then I got on the plane to Cambodia and I felt perfect. Right as rain because I had made the best decision of my life. And it seems like you did too! :) Happy to connect and excited to see where else your travels take you.
    Adrian of Adrian’s Travel Tales recently posted..Oktoberfest Need to Knows! Leavenworth, WAMy Profile

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  25. I am truly inspired by your story. I find myself in a similar situation. My boyfriend and I have currently broken up, I’m not happy in my current job (nor do I have any idea of what kind of job will make me happy). A girl I work with recently returned from traveling the world and her stories of all the adventures she went on sparked my interest. Now I yearn to travel as well and think it is something I must do. However, I am also teriffied as I have never traveled alone!

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