‘I realized there was nothing to do but go, so i did.” – Cheryl Strayed
Shocked, but not surprised. That’s the reaction I get from most people who know me when I shared the news. About a month and a half ago, I made the single biggest decision of my life. I quit my job. I quit a stable and rewarding career. I sold everything I own, to backpack around the world.
I have always taken the “responsible” path. I worked hard, choosing late nights in the office over happy hour. I drank the freakin koolaid. I loved my job, and defined my personal success by my next promotion. I had never QUIT at anything in my life.
Let’s address the elephant in the room, the question everyone I know has been wanting to ask but few have. What happened to make you quit?!! People expect drama, gossip, some big Jerry McGuire freak out. A reason that makes sense of it all.
Well what really happened was, on a whim a year ago, I bought a ticket to Belize. Actually my best friend of 17 years, Scott, who was sick of hearing me talk about traveling grabbed my phone and credit card from me out at dinner one night and bought it for me. He said “just buy the ticket, then you HAVE to go and you will figure out the rest.” You see, I had been like every other corporate american who talks about their travel dreams, and shares Facebook articles of adventures like this, and if it wasn’t for that moment it would probably still be talk.
I took the trip. I had no idea what i was doing. I had a backpack, and my yoga mat and thought I was headed on an eat pray love tour. I had only 2 nights reserved at a hostel I found on Hostelworld and other than that I had no plan. Which is still how I like it. It was the best two weeks of my life, so far. I started out on the islands, San Pedro and Caye Caulker, headed inland into the jungle area of San Ignacio, and found my way across the order to Guatemala. I hitchhiked, took buses cross country, got robbed, swam with sharks, went tarantula fishing in the jungle and summited a 13,000 ft volcano. I extended my stay in Guatemala. I just could not leave.
When I got home, it wasn’t the same. I was not the same. Nothing about my life felt the same. After 15 years in the Beauty industry, I just could not get myself to look at lipstick sales the same way. within a few days after returning to Colorado I had given notice to my leasing office and called my family to tell them I was quitting my job to travel!
Then I got promoted. My career had relocated me to Colorado and this new position would bring me back home to Seattle. I put my dreams of travel on hold and packed up the dogs in my outback and came home. Within a month of coming home I was on fire at work, producing great results, and even won a coveted award. However, I still dreamed of adventure and decided on Nepal as my next trip. I BEGGED for time off 9 months down the road, reasoning that this would get me through the grueling next few months of work. My light at the end of the tunnel. In July 2017 i booked my ticket for two weeks in Nepal leaving April 2018.
As the months went by work still wasn’t the same for me. My head was in the game, I put in the hours, I gave it all i had, but my heart was elsewhere. I found happiness in my team, focusing on supporting them to achieve their goals, and that got me through each day. But my passion for my work was not the same. On Feb 7th, I knew that it was now or never and that was the day. My boss told me to take a day to do some soul searching but as I walked home and called my Dad in a flood of tears, I knew it was the right decision. That day I gave notice to my Apartment, and two weeks later I said goodbye to my team. I would be taking the round trip flight to Katmandu that I had booked 9 months prior, as a ONE WAY!
My journey will finally begin in Katmandu Nepal in just TWO WEEKS ( ok, that’s crazy to write even now). I have a loose plan that spans 24 countries and 4 continents. But its a loose plan and I can promise it will change at least 20 times. And YES I am going alone! The first month of my trip will kick off with trekking in the Himalayas, with Everest Base Camp first followed by the Annapurna Circuit. The mountains are my happy place, my peace, and I cant think of a better way to start this journey!