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I couldn’t stop smiling. Life was exciting, adventurous and fulfilling.
That’s how I felt for most of my life. I had a job I loved, great friends and a strong purpose. What more could I want?
I wanted to travel.
Unfortunately my job kept me working more than 12 hours a day on average, seven days a week. There were years when I only had a couple days off. In all my twenties, I had only a couple vacations that lasted more than 72 hours.
A basic goal in my life was to explore the world. I just couldn’t do that while tethered to my job in Los Angeles.
Eventually, I smiled less. There were more and more barriers in achieving the goals I had within the company I worked for. And there were setbacks.
Many times I had tried to work for other branches of the company around the US. More importantly, I had an opportunity to work as the head of a UK branch of the company. Alas, that fell through too.
Finally, I had to make a decision. I had worked at the same company for nearly 17 years. During nearly all of that time, I had been based in Los Angeles, where my dad also worked for the same company. In 2003 I was sent out to Las Vegas and Dallas on business assignments, but that was it.
Before working for the company, I had been all over the west US. I’d lived in over a dozen homes along the west coast, and was always adventuring and exploring. Staying in one city was not something I enjoyed, especially the megalopolis of Los Angeles.
I began to realize I had stayed in Los Angeles to be close to my dad. For hears he was plagued by various medical problems, and was prone to heart attacks and strokes. My desire to help the company and purpose in life kept me going.
In those 17 years, I had been privileged to hold numerous positions at the company. Nine of those years were spent as a teacher, and my students routinely said I was their favorite.
Still, I wanted more.
My students came from all over the world, and would routinely give me stories and pictures of their homeland. I always dreamed of visiting their cultures.
Finally in 2014, I sat down and looked at what I really wanted to achieve in life. I looked at all the different jobs I had held, all the different fields I had been trained in, and what I wanted to gain knowledge in. I looked at my goals, purposes and targets. I looked at what I had been good at, and what my best products had been in life.
My analysis came down to three things.
Since I was a little kid, I had been a wiz with computers. I had studied programming in school, and was fond of graphic design. I’d built computers, done data entry work and was a master at dozens of programs. In all my years on the job, I always strove to have a computer element in my work.
Second, I loved to write. My typing speed was upwards of 110 words per minute. Even before I had access to computers, I used to fill notebooks with story after story while I sat in class. By the time I was 15, I had half a dozen novels I was working on. Even in my job, I had voluntarily written a weekly newsletter, and I continued to write novels, although my time for such was severely limited.
Lastly, above all else I desired to travel.
I became very unpopular when I informed my job that I wanted to leave. Due to the nature of my business, quitting was not a simple option. The process dragged out for weeks, which turned into months.
It was too long.
Finally, I stopped smiling altogether.
It was time for change.
I purchased a last-minute, one-way ticket to London from Los Angeles for $180. Then, with $453 in my bank account, I set out to explore the world. I had no plans, other than I wanted to travel for at least 10 years and get to as many countries as I could. Preferably all of them.
Despite all the ramifications, I will always consider that to be the best decision of my life. At least, in the life I had.
Now that life is over. My new life as a travel blogger is well underway, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Especially when the world is what I now have!