Not All Who Wander Are Lost

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Have you ever sat down and thought to yourself, what am I doing with myself right now? There’s so much to see out there, and here I am sitting behind this computer screen letting my retinas burn right to a crisp and working myself so hard that I actually am letting my job (unwillingly) interfere with my life. I just want to let you all know, that it IS possible to change your life; traveling changed mine.

People go to college and universities, for what? Most people truly don’t even know what they want to study. It’s because society tells us we have to. Not saying education is a bad thing at all – in fact it’s actually the best thing, and in today’s world, we need it as a stepping stone. However, what most 18 year olds don’t understand is the undertaking college tuition might have on them afterwards. College was the greatest four years of my life, do I regret it? Not one bit. Do I like having $80,000 worth of debt that harbors over my shoulders every day (for possibly the next 25 years), it’s a thought I’m still working through. But you know what? You can’t let that stop you from living. (However if you are considering traveling and you have loans, you should definitely call your loan company – they have many suitable plans to choose from that will make your dreams of traveling more attainable without hurting your pockets)

Then what happens after college? You’re fresh on the scene, trying to make it in the big boy leagues, so you pretty much will take any job that’s thrown at you. Gotta get a job fast because six months after graduation you gotta start paying those bills! My first job, I worked as a Hedge Fund accountant. It was quite the experience, nice 70 hour work weeks with no overtime is great, but hey isn’t this what all people with jobs do? That’s when it finally hit me. I was close to one year on the job and I was miserable. I had horrible bosses that made my life intolerable, the hours were draining me, and all the money I spent was pretty much on parties during the weekend so I could forget the horrors of my life during the week. I finally realized that I could NOT live like this any more. I began to have existential moments like crazy. I could see my bosses miserable too, yet it was almost like they were stuck in their sorrow spots and couldn’t leave because they had too much on the line. If I didn’t leave, I could end up like them, and that’s the last thing I wanted to do.

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I had a choice. All I wanted to do was travel. The choice wasn’t hard, however what was hard was coping with the fact that – will I actually cut off the hand that feeds me? Do I quit this job that gives me money and supports my lifestyle for a life unknown? It’s something people really have to think about. However for me, I was so over my job, it took me less than a month to buy my one way ticket to Europe. That’s not to say I wasn’t nervous when I put in my two weeks. I thought it would be easy, but it was a lot harder than I thought. However my sense of relief was amazing, and I had a flight I couldn’t miss. I had people say I was crazy. I had recruiters calling me and telling me it was the worst decision I could do for my career. I had close relatives say, “You’re going to quit your JOB?” And quite frankly, I did not care whatsoever what people had to think. I knew what I wanted to do and my decision was made. You can’t let people affect you.

Seventeen countries and three months later – I feel amazing. Must have been all those nice picnics in front of the Eiffel Tower, or my pint of Guinness in Dublin, or my picturesque train ride through the Swiss Alps, maybe the Roman Baths in Budapest, or swimming in the Mediterranean Sea in Sicily. I swear to you, traveling will broaden your perspective to a whole other realm. There are different ways to view life. The life you live currently, isn’t the way you need to live for the rest of your life. In fact, if you wanted to, you could pick up tomorrow and change your whole life, but it requires one thing – courage. Courage for the unknown, courage for getting to know yourself. I actually don’t think I truly understood myself until after I travelled. If there’s one thing that I learned, is that the sun still rises tomorrow. We should never work ourselves to the point of exhaustion. We should never work ourselves to the point where our work controls our lives. You know why? Because it’s YOUR life and you have to live it the way YOU want to. The sun is still gonna rise tomorrow isn’t it? Think about it.

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