Solo Female Travel, Travel Stories

Why I Quit My Job

      It’s been a week since I’ve begun my year of travel and officially quit my job. (!!) I’ve left the Windy City and headed south to spend the next month living with a dear friend in Memphis. As the dust starts to settle and I become accustomed to a new rhythm and pattern of life, I hope to clarify the purpose for this new adventure and define some goals. I honestly don’t really know how this chapter of my life will be written, who will become the antagonist, how the plot will develop, if it will become a short story or a novel with a sequel.

      What I do know is that I’m embarking on this adventure to explore and discover the world around me, but it’s more than that. The truth is that I have been living a life incongruent with my core values and beliefs.

I’ve been participating in a cycle of consumerism, when what I really long for is simplicity and freedom from materialism. I’ve prided myself in being self-sufficient and independent living on my own, when what I really crave is community and interdependence. I’ve spent the last three years working the overnight shift, spending the majority of my days sleeping when all I craved was sunshine and a sense of normalcy. I’ve been contributing to a broken system of healthcare delivery that focuses on illness instead of wellness, believing there is a better way but not knowing how to be more effective. I’ve felt helpless as I watch our environment become destroyed by greed, knowing that my own lifestyle perpetuates this destruction.

I want to live a life of service, trusting a Higher Power to work out the details, walking by faith and not by fear. Instead, I’ve been relying on my own limited abilities and sense of control to orchestrate a lifestyle that conflicts with my beliefs. I’ve allowed my daily responsibilities and obligations to distract me from honoring my authentic desires, caught in a cycle of hypocrisy, not sure how to escape.

       After two years of contemplating my future, spending too many restless nights awake, and knowing I had to make a change, I found the courage to move out of my one-bedroom apartment and quit my job. I gave my car away, bought a backpack and decided to save enough money to spend a year traveling. 

My very first day of full-time travel!
March 21, 2013

I’ve always been someone who has needed to make outward changes in my environment, as if the external shift signals the beginning of a deeper inner transformation. I’m not sure if this is right or wrong; it’s certainly extreme.

       This year I’ll be embarking on a journey of discovery. I’ll be sharing stories and photos from my travels, along with practical tips and advice for those who are interested in a similar pursuit. More importantly, I’m beginning an inner quest to live a lifestyle that more closely reflects my desire for simplicity, community, wellness, sustainability, and a life grounded in faith. It’s the chance for me to practice what I preach.

I’ll be carrying only the most basic necessities with me on my back and living within a limited budget of $10 per day. I’ll be staying with friends and strangers, relying on the kindness and generosity of people I’ve yet to meet. I’ll be expanding my view of community as I cross borders and step outside my own comfort zone, searching for commonalities rather than discord. I’ll be paring down and honing in on my priorities. I’ll be seeking God’s will instead of my own.

        My journey isn’t better or more valuable than yours. My journey is a personal one and I respect that we all come from various walks of life. We each have different talents, gifts, and resources that make us unique and worthy of our own journey. Some of us are on parallel paths, others will intersect and converge.

This is the path I have chosen but I cannot walk it alone. We all need fellow sojourners to share the ups and downs, the twists and turns, to encourage and inspire, to support one another when we stumble and lose our way. I hope you will walk beside me as I begin this new chapter in my life. I’d be honored to share it with you. 

4654_119358119552_3397400_nZambia, Africa 2009

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