Three years ago, I left my corporate job to pursue what I (thought was I) really wanted to do – travel, tell stories, see the world, meet people.
That sounded like a brave move. I would like to think I am brave. I am backed with a little savings and supportive friends from work (who are still cheering for me at this time!).
When people ask me what made me decide to leave my job and a brand that looks good on my resume (IBM), I only knew I had to go while I still love the company. I couldn’t really pin point the one reason – maybe it is a combination of different things, different emotions, different reasons.
When did I know it was time to go? I just woke up one day and decided that I don’t want to do the job anymore. But I remember weeks before that decision was made, I felt really depressed. I had to go before I even set myself to failure.
It was like being in a bad relationship. I told my mom and I was firm with my decision. I set up a meeting with my manager and handed my resignation letter. I was ready to let go of everything.
I left my job and my employer while I still love them. I didn’t want to come to a point when I would curse the company, my manager, my work – just because I wanted to break free.
The best feeling in the world the day after my last day was having to sleep at night. I used to work at night shift and sleep is luxury.
The worst thing about it: family questioning my decision. I guess I have a very traditional family who defines success as having a good title under one’s name and owning properties.
Truth be told, when I resigned, I didn’t have a concrete plan in my head. I felt so immature thinking about it now. I didn’t have goals. I always let the future surprise me. All I wanted was to go places and experience new things (which opportunities presented me with once-in-a-lifetime experiences and I am thankful for that) and not be bounded by time (I love watches, but I hate being bounded by time).
Plan X (because I don’t remember having Plan A or Plan B) was formed when my friend and I planned to travel and do volunteer work in different parts of the world. Inspired by the Leadership Program I took part in when I was still in corporate. I remember talking and planning about it as if we were fresh graduates ready to take the world. I was ready to offer my skills, to apply for work and embrace new cultures (very much like how my dear Trisha of PS. I’m On My Way is doing it!)
But then, I got distracted with the opportunities and projects I got from blogging; and there are things and more important things in my life that I need to consider before leaving the country. And leaving my family.
Making the decision to leave my job is one of the best decisions I ever made. My friends and former colleagues would tell me how brave/inspiring/motivating I am to stand up for what I wanted – to quit my job and pursue what I really wanted.
At that time, I felt like that I was one with the voices from Thought Catalog and Elite Daily talking to you and pushing you to quit your job and travel – and experience things!
… and I did experience a lot of things.
Three years after, I am telling you otherwise. Don’t quit your job to travel the world.
Think of your circumstances, your dependents and your assets. Not everyone who left their job to pursue what they wanted could survive like I do. I am only responsible for myself.
Traveling for free is fun (but hey, most of them are not really free). [Read: How much really is an all-expense-paid trip} But I still enjoy the travels I did as a reward for myself and the good job I did. I realized that I cannot be far from my family (especially mom) that long. Whenever I travel, I still look forward to going home.
Telling stories is nice. But most often, I only have the time to tell stories of different brands and my clients.
Meeting new people is exciting. But (I) always find time to reconnect with old friends. We should not just build relationships, we nurture them.
My life tips before you hand that resignation letter:
What I really want to tell you – traveling takes a lot of work – physically, financially, emotionally. I am learning more and more about myself every time I travel (like I can’t really do backpacking and I always look forward to sleeping on comfortable bed with fresh bed sheets). If you are planning to quit your job now just to travel the world, make sure that you are prepared for the worst. We don’t want to be the Westerners who beg in Asian countries or tourists taking odd jobs in Europe just to survive.
Save up not just for travel – but for emergencies, too. If there is one thing I missed most about having a regular job, it is the act of saving. I hate thinking about the future but it is always good to be prepared. Before I resigned, my friends would always remind me to be careful with my expenses 😀 Traveling is expensive (at least the way I do it). I don’t just go to a place to have my photo taken. I want to experience everything about the place.
If you think that quitting your job and traveling is just an escape from your work, find new hobbies. I remember I used to make accessories that I sell to my coworkers and online (good old Multiply!).
Talk to your family, friends and colleagues/manager. I don’t remember talking to them before making a decision – but that is because I don’t have dependencies and dependents. I understand people who stayed with their jobs because they are not given any choice.
Make traveling a part of your work. How? On my next post, I would tell you 3 ways how I got to travel for FREE.
When I left my job, I got what I wanted. I always tell people I don’t earn much from what I am doing now. I earn experiences. 3 years after, I have new wants, hopes and dreams.
Are you planning to quit your job soon? Tweet me @ruthilicious. Let’s talk about those things!