Four weeks ago, I submitted my notice at work. It has me taken eighteen months to get this far. I had a career that many people envied. I know this, because they told me. I have traveled to places I would never have seen without my job, and that I feel humbled and privileged to have had the opportunity to work in. The opportunity to live abroad– and be paid to do so – was one of the main reasons I joined my current employer in the first place. And that burning, pressing desire to go far and wide, and cram as many places as possible into my limited years on this planet remains ever strong. But something hasn’t been right for a while and I finally realized that after eight years I’ve fallen out of love with my work. It has been a long, slow end to our professional relationship; no shouting or screaming or sudden quitting here. But I know that it is time to leave whilst we are still on speaking terms, and while I am able to look back with fond memories.
An over thinker from birth, I started researching as soon as I realized there was another way. I read Tim Ferris. I read Marianne Cantwell. I got over my fear of Twitter and started following all sorts of digital nomads with the hope that I would get inspiration from their 140 characters. About six months ago, I stumbled across the Holstee Manifesto on a bit of late night online surfing. It was like a light bulb went off in my head. I know many people have said this before, but I felt like it was talking directly to me. Actually, it was more like it was grabbing me by both shoulders, screaming, at full volume. This is your life, it said. If you don’t like something, change it. It was time to stop procrastinating, and start doing. I think I actually cried as I mentally regained control over my life. I certainly am now as I relive the moment.
I wonder what I will do next. In darker moments I think that I will never get a job as good as this one again, and that I am crazy to consider leaving. But as a friend in the same industry recently reminded me, sometimes we drink too much of the kool-aid. We believe that this is the only thing we could possibly do, that our skills aren’t transferable, that no other life path could be as amazing as this one. My gut tells me this is clearly nonsense. My heart dances a little faster when I think of all the different routes I could take to cut through the jungle ahead. The pessimist in my head likes to play games with me, so I’ve started to tell it to shut up.
Growing up, my mother always taught me to try anything once. So I am going to try being free. Free from my current job. Free from my current way of thinking. But most of all, free from the expectations that I’ve placed on myself about who I should be. I’ve felt the pull of South America for a while, so I’m going to and wander with the hope that getting lost will help me find myself. That is my main Holstee hope. It is time to reshuffle the pack.
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