I get a lot of different reactions when I tell people I quit my government job to travel the world. Usually people’s reactions depend on a couple of factors being how well they know me and what their reality is. It also changed dramatically between the conversations I had with people before I handed my letter of resignation in and the reactions after.
When I spoke to people before I handed my letter of resignation in I mainly got negative opinions. No one seemed to think it was a good idea. My mum had obvious concerns about whether I would end up unemployed and depressed as I spent two years semi unemployed before I managed to get the job. My workmates seemed to think I was crazy for giving up a job that I basically couldn’t get sacked from. The money was also rather good and the conditions were nice being a government job and all. Most of them told me to take some leave without pay to see if I really wanted to travel long term. This safety barrier is exactly what I didn’t want though and although I had no idea how I would make money overseas I knew I didn’t want the safety net of having a job waiting at home for me.
The only person who was supportive of my decision to quit was my boyfriend at the time who knew I was somewhat miserable. I think he also felt a little abandoned as I was studying and riding horses every minute of the day that I wasn’t working. I loved the lifestyle and was happy always being busy. He was the type that liked to relax and felt that convincing me to come over and then doing nothing was enjoyable. I am still not really sure if he was looking out for me or himself, and when we broke up I felt a whole lot better about living this lifestyle.
My decision to quit was fuelled by a couple of important desires and events. The first is my insatiable lust to travel. I have never been able to accept that what I see is all that exists. I have never believed stereotypes and didn’t believe that the traditional model of life was what I wanted, even from a very young age. Money was on my mind when I was a small child and I was only allowed to have one scoop of Milo (chocolate malt drink) in my milk, so I decided I would be an entrepreneur in order to become a millionaire and buy all of the Milo that I want. Anyone that knows me realises that this is how many of my decisions come along, so when I grew a little older and discovered that people sacrifice their happiness to make money and buy material things I decided that I would focus on happiness. My decision making process was pretty similar. I wasn’t allowed to have enough holidays to satisfy my desire for travel, so I decided I would create a life that I could travel. I haven’t figured out how to be a millionaire yet and have grown out of my love of Milo, however I think I have figured out where I am happiest and that is ‘on the road’.
The second part of the decision was fuelled by going to a business program where many people stated that if you do exactly what you love, you will find a way to make money from it. I took this quite literally and decided I love travel so I should do that. I spoke to a mentor of mine since then who had a little bit of a different interpretation than me. Regardless of whether I misinterpreted this statement, it has set me on a path that has changed my life in the best way. The third part of my decision was when I returned to work from the course and my job had changed to the point that I wasn’t learning anything at all. This was a huge problem for me. I mean, I am so in to learning that I read business books in my spare time, so working in a job where I was learning nothing didn’t work for me. Within two weeks of being home I handed in my letter of resignation.
The moment I handed my resignation letter in people’s opinions backflipped. Suddenly the same people who were warning me not to quit started to tell me how much they admired me for quitting. They opened up to me and discussed how unhappy they were being trapped in the 9-5 lifestyle. I felt like I was empowering people by having these conversations about how you can really create the lifestyle you like and even started giving advice on how people can escape their financial traps. My advice is always to think about your longer term goals. I often talk to people who discuss their ‘jealousy’ of me, then see them buying new cars, fast fashion and animals. These three things are probably the most unnecessary things to buy in my opinion if you want to travel.
Very few people at home doubted my decision once I handed in my resignation, however many friends distanced themselves from me which was an unusual feeling. One best friend almost completely stopped talking to me except when she had to. This hurt immensely and was hard for me to understand. Men around me started acting strange and trying to get with me, possibly because they figured if they made fools of themselves they wouldn’t have to see me again. My family became a whole lot closer which was nice. I have never felt closer to my family than when I am thousands of kilometres from them. I know they have my back, trust me and support my decisions.
On the road I often get asked what I do with my life and when I am going back to Australia. My reply varies depending who I am talking to and how much time I have to discuss the subject. I am technically a student in Australia still so sometimes I just say I am a student and that I study online. Most of the time I tell people I have quit my job and am travelling the world. This gets several responses and the odd high five. Some people are amazed, they just can’t see themselves being able to do this, and sometime’s the money they make is really restricting compared to the good wage I was making in Australia. Other people don’t understand the concept of budget travel and think I must be really rich. Other’s just want to know when I will get back in the box of normal work. My favourite people are the people who ask questions and seem genuine interested about how they could achieve the same thing.
I also admire the people who are so content with their lives that they never want to do what I am. These people will always be a wonder to me as they truly have something I don’t and that is the ability to be content in a never changing environment. I think I can learn a lot from these people, though I don’t desire to be like them.