Have you ever wanted to say goodbye to your job, jump on a place and just go somewhere? Maybe you’ve already heard about this video that’s been bouncing around the internet about an Australian travel company showing this ridiculously good-looking actor travelling around the world. Or maybe you’ve been wondering why I’ve been talking about leaps of faith and master plans on Twitter lately.
Whether it’s all of the above or none of them at all, here’s a update one what’s going on in my life right now.
1) I quit my job.
That’s right, two-weeks’ notice, officially unemployed, only money coming is in whatever I make selling off old CDs and from leftover insurance claims I haven’t sent in yet. I said goodbye to a decent salary, 4.5 weeks paid vacation, benefits, education subsidies, everything. Lots of good friends, mentors and colleagues told me if I wasn’t happy, the job wasn’t worth it, especially if I had other ideas on what to do with my time. Which led to…
2) I’m going to South and Central America for 3.5 months starting in late October.
I’m planning on hiking the Inca Trail, working in the rainforest, sandboarding down a dune, snorkeling in the Galapagos Islands, surfing in Nicaragua and learning how to speak Spanish. Over the last five years I’ve saved about a year’s salary after taxes and figure I’ll never be able to take this kind of time off for the rest of my life, so I should do it now.
3) I’m coming back to journalism full-time.
Ever since I got my communications job I’ve been yearning to come back to the industry. I love the opportunities to tell stories, I love helping and meeting people, I love going to new places, learning new things and being able to ask endless questions. I only got to do that to a small degree in my old job and the idea of doing that full-time, even without all the safety nets of benefits, steady hours and better pay, completely thrills me. Over the next two months, I plan on completing the Canadian Securities Course, learning introductory Spanish while physically training for my trip and pitching a few stories to magazines and newspapers. This way when I come back from Nicaragua in late January I’ll be fully prepared to freelance full-time and qualify for business journalism internships.
The reality of it all
I know this situation is only a dream for many. I owe a lot to my parents, who helped support me immensely during my time in university and offered to let me continue to live at home rent-free while I was working. (In addition to being located only 15 minutes away from my workplace, they said it would help me save for a house in the future.) Not everyone can be living debt-free, rent-free and virtually commitment-free at the age of 24.
But I also lived very frugally during the entire time and saved most of my salary. I rarely went out for movies, packed most of my meals, and always took public transit when going downtown from Scarborough. When I traveled on my own, I often took the Megabus to places close to home (Montreal, New York) and stayed with friends or relatives. I mostly lived like a broke student, even when I was far from it.
So that’s what I’m doing with my life. If you have recommendations for places to see in Ecuador or Peru, inexpensive ways to get to Brazil and Argentina, or the best ways to learn conversational Spanish in two months, I would love to hear them.