Around this time last year I gave notice at my corporate job, said goodbye to all my friends, finished packing everything I owned into a Lexus SUV and headed east. It’s
hard to believe I’ve been gone from the corporate world for almost a year and traveling non-stop for almost five months. Time has gone by in a blink and when I really think back to all I’ve done and seen, I can’t believe it. My life now looks absolutely nothing like it did a year ago.
People from back home ask me questions all the time. What’s my life is like now? Am I happier? Do I miss my job? Do you think you made the right decision? And, most often, what’s next?
So on this anniversary of change, I thought I’d write a post about it.
Reflections on my Year on the Road
First of all, yes, I am happy with my decision. Wherever this path leads me, I am so happy that I made this change. There is nothing as invigorating as taking a risk, remaking your life, challenging yourself and learning new skills every day. I was never
unhappy in my ‘old life’ and there were many, many incredible things about that life. But let’s face it – doing the same thing over and over gets dull. Life is short. There are so many amazing things in this world, and I’d like to experience as much of it as I can before time runs out.
Taking this time has given me the opportunity to know and interact with other cultures. It’s given me the space to explore things I enjoy, like learning new languages and writing. Opportunities I never expected have popped up, like being appointed to the board of directors of a sea turtle conservancy. I’ve made more new friends in the last year than I have in my whole life, and I’ve realized how important my old friends are, and how to keep up those important ties. Although I make nowhere near the amount of money I did before, I am close to breaking even and being completely location independent and self supporting.
Most importantly, I’m not on autopilot any more. Every day, I make simple decisions about my daily life that I used to take for granted. In my old life, I had a routine that I rarely strayed from. I woke at 7:35am, had some coffee, drove to work, etc. Now, every day is an adventure and a choice to do what’s important to me. In those daily, small choices there is a new life, and one that can change at any time according to what is meaningful to me.
That is not to say that everything’s perfect. I still have frustrations, disappointments and all the bullshit that comes in life. I get sick, customs agents rip me off, buses
break down. But now I feel I am better able to see these moments for what they are, and through the lens of both my past and a limitless, bright future. This too shall pass.
And yes, sometimes I do miss my job, a lot. Especially the wonderful, intelligent and creative people I was lucky enough to engage with on a daily basis. I look back on my days in corporate america with incredible fondness and nostalgia and consider it one of my greatest accomplishments.
As for what happens next, it’s anybody’s guess. I’ve planned enough for now, and I’m happy with the way things are. In the short term, I will temporarily wind down my travels in a few months and head back to Florida for summer vacation. I intend to head back out, probably to South America, the following November.
So there you have it. My reflections on my year on the road. As you can see, I’m still a little starry eyed. I can’t believe I really did it! To those who have supported me, cheered me on, helped me and sometimes just listened . . . I thank you from the bottom of my heart. I would never have had the courage to make this change without you and I will forever be grateful.