Flipping My World Inside Out to Become a Full-Time Traveler
A few years ago, I was working in Human Resources in an office and living a pretty routine life. Fortunately, my job became remote and I decided to leverage this opportunity to spice things up by traveling. Since then and to this day I’m on the road constantly and never know what will happen next. I feel invigorated by the free-spirited nomadic lifestyle I’ve chosen and constantly find myself meeting new people and learning about new cultures and ways of life. My journey of leaving HR and becoming a full-time traveler was something that required a ton of planning, patience, and dedication. Finding my way into this world has been quite the ride but hard work has paid off into an adventure filled life!
I flipped my world inside out and decided to become a minimalist and live life on the road. I remember feeling so grateful for having a job that was remote and that I could do from just about anywhere in the US. I was living in San Francisco at the time and thought if I could do this from anywhere then why not take advantage. I picked up and moved to places I had never been to before and where I didn’t know a soul, like Denver, Austin, Charleston, and Honolulu. I wanted to know what life was like in the mountains, in the south, on an island, and everywhere in between. During my travels, I created a blog, FromHereToSunday, with hopes to inform, inspire and engage readers to step out of their comfort zone. As in, travel somewhere they’ve never been before and try things they’ve never tried. I felt like if I shared my story it would hopefully inspire others. As I got into the groove of moving around so often, I remember people asking me “so, when are you done traveling?” The thing was, I felt like I barely scratched the surface. Initially, I just wanted to take advantage of being in a remote role and then it turned into a full-on love affair with travel and the nomadic life.
I had a great time wandering around the US, but there were actually two things I was struggling with. The first was that I had developed this huge itch to explore more of the world outside of the states. The second was that it had hit me that the job I was in was not the best fit. Like many other millennials, I graduated right when the economy crashed in 2008. Following an extensive job search, I took any job I could get my hands on with a liberal arts degree and a few internships under my belt. Fast forward a few years and I found myself in a role where my job was to manage employee terminations. The reality of it was just as you would expect, depressing. I finally came to a decision just about a year ago, to quit my job and travel internationally. I saved every penny, lived well under my means in affordable areas, developed relationships to gain sponsored trips through my blog and embarked on a year-long journey through Latin America, Europe, and Africa. Had I never left my job, I would have never met all of Nemo’s friends under Belize’s barrier reef, gone on a panoramic train ride through the Swiss Alps, or even encountered wild elephants in South Africa.
Over the course of this last year, I ended up making a dramatic change “from firing to inspiring” people. I became more and more involved with travel writing, photography, digital marketing, and social media consulting. While there was a learning curve considering my background in a completely different profession, I charged towards it with excitement and dedication. When I left my job, I was excited to travel but was also a bit anxious for what was to come next. Taking time off helped me click refresh on my career path and also dedicate time to focus on renewing my aspirations. Traveling has always lifted my spirits and provided me with an opportunity to think differently. Solo travel, in particular, has allowed me to step out of my comfort zone and learn not only more about the world but also myself.
I’m so thankful for being able to travel as I’ve gained quite a bit of insight. I may not be nomadic forever, but travel will always be something I hold dear. It gives me an opportunity to step away and see things clearly. While not everyone’s journey is the same, I always recommend solo travel as a method to gain perspective when needed. Even if it’s just a weekend, it may be worth planning a getaway to reset. I’m certainly not an advocate for quitting jobs before having something else lined up or planning and budgeting out the next move. However, if you’re in need of a change, you should dedicate a bit of “me-time” to finding what will work for you. For some, it may require some soul-searching. Traveling may be just what you need to get there and gather a new view.
Monica Houghton is a digital nomad who has always enjoyed the excitement that comes with novelty experiences and travel. Find her on her blog or on Instagram.