Not long ago (10 months to be exact) I quit my full time job with no real back up plan. A Pepperdine grad with a marketing degree, I’d landed a job at a beachfront office 3 years prior, getting a steady paycheck working in my field. Sounds great, right? Well, not when you’ve got a nagging desire to escape and set your own rules. I bought a one-way ticket to Europe and put in my notice, with vague plans to become my own boss and do something I could be excited about. And I haven’t looked back.
After 10 months of nomadic bliss, here are 10 reasons I’ll never regret taking that leap.
1. I set my own schedule.
For the most part, I keep a regular work schedule. But some days I just don’t feel like working. Instead of wasting my time trying to force myself, I take a break. I can make it up anytime. I get more done by working when I’m actually in the mood to work. And if a cool spontaneous opportunity comes up, I never have to worry about missing it for work.
2. I see cool places.
In the past 10 months, Ian and I have been to Denmark, Norway, Germany, Italy, and San Marino, all places I’d probably never see if I was still working a daily 9 to 5 job til I reached a normal retirement age. We’ve also done some extensive U.S. exploration, hitting several places by car this year. There are SO MANY amazing things to see in our world, and now I have the freedom to discover them!
3. I meet cool people.
If you religiously tune in to the news every night, you might think people are all evil. You’ll wind up picturing the world as a dangerous place, with bombs going off and terrorist threats and people hating people everywhere! But explore the world yourself and you’ll find it’s not so. In Norway, we met some of the NICEST people I’ve ever had the pleasure of spending time with. Expats from Italy, Finland, Venezuela, and Poland all treated us like dear old friends during our stay. The world is certainly not all ponies and rainbows, but if you’re a traveler, you’re finding out firsthand.
4. I have more time for family.
Since my brothers and I left for college, my immediate and extended family has been spread out all over the U.S. With more time to think outside the demands of a daily-grind life, I’ve realized there’s no guarantee on how much time you get with your family. I rarely thought about checking in on family when I was working full time in California. Dealing with a 3 hour time difference from coast to coast made it tricky. But setting my own schedule now gives me more time to keep in touch and make plans to ensure our paths cross no less than once a year.
5. Travel is cheaper.
Since I’m not limited to a standard Saturday through Sunday vacation week, I buy flights whenever the price is lowest. Usually that’s Tuesday or Wednesday, but I’ve flown from LA to Copenhagen on a Saturday for $250 (and you can find flights to Europe for under $200). I also save money by booking longer term accommodations. Everywhere I’ve stayed these past 10 months has been less expensive than my former apartment in Venice, California. And that includes Norway, the most expensive country in the world.
6. I’ve reconnected with old friends.
Though I moved 2,000 miles away from my St. Louis home, that doesn’t mean my hometown friendships ended there. But with several years out of college and my parents then moving away, I DID start to lose touch. Quitting my job made it possible for me to see almost all my best St. Louis pals again!
7. I get to hang out with my best friend.
Life is best spent with the ones you love. Ian and I spend most of our time together, and our entrepreneurial endeavors are much better as a result. We also keep each other in check, which usually means forcing each other to take breaks. (It’s easy to forget to eat and sleep when you’re working on things you love.) We may not have it all figured out, but we’re figuring it out together.
8. We make money while we sleep.
Self-publishing is highly rewarding, both personally and financially. Ian and I run 4 blog-style websites. (This is one of them!) Our sites are always open, and we have no need for a public office or storefront. We could be backpacking without cell service halfway ’round the world while someone is reading one of our Lonely Speck camera reviews, clicks an affiliate link in the article, and later makes a purchase on the website they were led to. Some of our best months monetarily have actually been when we’ve worked the least!
9. I choose whom I interact with.
This is one of the best parts about my new nomadic life. Removing negative people from my life and spending more time with positive influences has been instrumental in reducing my stress levels. It’s also been very helpful in motivating me to succeed.
10. I’m happy.
When I was little people would ask, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I never knew what to say. After 28 years of life, I’ve figured it out. I want to be happy. And that’s what I’m doing.
I certainly don’t have it all figured out, but I’m trying new things and having fun in the process. We couldn’t be happier!
Want to know what it takes to call it quits? Read my article on how to Quit Your Job and Travel the World.
Find out how we started making plans in “It started with a date.” – The Coffee Shop Conversation that Doomed My Desk Job.
About the Author
- In March 2014, Diana called it quits on her traditional American working life and set out to explore the world with her partner in crime (and love of her life) Ian Norman. They now live a sustainable life of full time travel, working for themselves and seeking adventure at the same time. Here on North to South, Diana documents their journey in achieving and maintaining this "road less traveled" way of life.
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