It took about a week from coming up with the idea of quitting my job for adventure and travel, to deciding I was 100% going to make it happen. Once I had made that decision, and in my head I was on a plane heading to new adventures, I knew there was no going back. The preparations are well underway. Although there is so much uncertainty with what I am doing next, one thing is for sure – this year is all about change.
What follows a big life decision? The big reveal! The first thing I started to do once I had made up my mind to leave was let my family and friends know. It didn’t go quite as I expected.
Firstly, I was nervous
I don’t know why, but I actually felt worried about telling people that I was quitting, leaving London, tackling a big adventure and starting a blog. Although looking back, maybe I was just embarrassed. I was sure people would think that there was no way I could complete the hike or that I was good enough to put my writing out there – I certainly don’t think that, so why should they?!
But I was actually surprised by how people responded
I thought people might have doubts about the big challenge I was taking on, but I thought that mostly everyone would just be excited. And they are, but, mostly, all people want to know about is the job, my CV, what will I do when I get back – all the ‘sensible’, 9-5 pressures that is exactly the thing I am trying to escape. Here’s how the conversation usually pans out:
ME: “Me and the hubby are leaving our jobs to travel and take on a massive 800km trek through the middle East. I’m also starting the blog I’ve always wanted to have to write about the journey and share my travelling tips”
THEM: “Wow! How long are you going for?”
ME: “I don’t know. As long as I can I guess”
THEM: “Have you got a sabbatical?”
ME: “No, we’re quitting our jobs”
THEM: “How are you going to afford it?”
ME: “We saved”
THEM: “What are you going to do when you come back?”
ME: “I don’t know”
THEM: “Aren’t you worried about leaving your careers, everything you’ve worked towards and taking a massive step back?”
ME: “No. Well, a little. But we want to change our lifestyle so we will see what happens”
THEM: “Aren’t you worried about how bad it will look on your CV?”
*sigh* At this point I give up and change the subject
I do think deep down that people are genuinely pleased for us. I just put the doubts they express down to their own fears and leave it at that.
Telling people then got annoying
I had forgotten who I had told, who I hadn’t and at what point I left it. I’ve casually come out with phrases like, ‘Been busy buying equipment for our 800km middle east trek’ and had a WTF blank stare in return. Whoops – I forgot to fill that friend in. I probably should have just done a big Facebook status reveal or something.
Packing up my life
As part of the plan to save money, myself and my better half are moving in with family for a few months. The last couple of months I’ve been sorting through all my stuff, selling and donating anything that isn’t essential, have given up my lovely loft flat in Putney and said goodbye to London. That was hard.
I love London so much and even though I’ve not gone far (yet) moving out suddenly made everything feel very real. Although I am pursuing my dreams and it totally feels right, I can’t deny that I am giving up good things in return. A good job, comfortable salary, a nice home and, the most important and hardest, amazing friends. It took years to settle and make a home in London. It’s not easy leaving that behind.
But, the city won’t go anywhere. And I know from experience that friends coming and going is part of life and that the good ones will stick around. I will make it my number 1 priority to stay in contact with my friends and family and to visit as much as I can in between all my travels and adventures.
So much still to do
With 2 months left of work until I leave (yey!!) there is not much time left and still loads to organise. I need to book flights, finalise the route, pick a charity, start fundraising and GET FIT (eek…got to get onto that one!). It’s not safe to start the desert walk until mid September so there is also the summer months still to fill with travel plans and mini adventures, all still to be decided and booked.
That’s not mentioning the change of addresses, medical and dental checks and the sorting of finances that needs to take place.
Basically, packing up your life is a lot of work and is anything but easy. The last few months has been full of emotional highs and surprising lows. But even the low points I cherish. With all excitement and adventure comes fear, nerves and worry – it’s just part of the package. And anyway, as I take my commuter train in the morning and look at all the smartly dressed business men and women snoozing on the train, with such routine they stand at the same spot on the platform and have ‘their’ seat in the carriage – I realise, it beats being a zombie, living your life on autopilot.
No regrets from my end.
You might also be interested in reading, how I afford to travel full time.