Why I Left It All Behind to Travel the World

How many times have you seen “I Quit My Job to Travel the World – And You Should, Too!” posts in your newsfeed lately? The leave-it-all-behind-and-travel philosophy has grown in popularity over the last few years, and I wasn’t immune to it.

I made the decision last January that I wanted to travel, full-time. I mentioned in last week’s post (see: How to Talk to Loved Ones About Travel), something about baring my soul about my reasons for deciding to travel here on this blog, and I realized, I haven’t exactly done that. The reasons I wanted to leave it all behind and travel full-time are pretty personal. Everyone feels called to travel (or does NOT feel called to travel) for different reasons, and I certainly have my own.Why I'm Leaving It All Behind to Travel the World_Pinterest

That said, I felt like it was time to share these with you guys. Maybe some of you are going through some of the same things, and looking for a solution. That solution just might be traveling.

Here’s why I left it all behind to travel the world:

I Caught the Wanderlust Bug

I took a trip in 2014 that changed my life (See: An American Girl in Europe). I took time away from my fancy corporate marketing job for the first time since college, packed up, and headed off to Europe for a 25-day trip of a lifetime. I joined a tour because I was nervous to travel solo (ha!), and explored Europe with new friends on the Contiki European Vista.

This trip opened my eyes to the thrill of travel. Even though we were moving at a much faster pace compared to how I like to travel now, this was the inciting incident for my wanderlust. After this trip, the idea of returning to a cubicle was nearly intolerable. I had to see and do more before I could settle into a full-time job again.

I Was Heartbroken

Well, there it is. The baring my soul part of this post.

I spent the first five years of my twenties in an on/off relationship with someone who was never truly committed to me. I saw all the signs from the beginning, but I did the typical love-struck routine of convincing myself that everything would work out.

Needless to say, it didn’t work out…and when it finally ended, it ended more horribly than I could have possibly imagined.

That was last October (2014). It was January 2015 that I made the choice to travel, and I would be lying to myself and everyone reading this if I said this wasn’t a huge factor in my decision to leave the Bay Area and hit the road.

After five years of hiding the wanderlust in my heart because he didn’t share that passion (See: Traveling When Your Significant Other Doesn’t Want To), I was finally ready to follow my dream. I could seek adventure, passion and new worlds without anything or anyone holding me back, so that’s what I chose.

I’m an Introvert

While I could spend hours writing about the misconceptions associated with the word “introvert,” I’ll sum it up by saying this: I LOVE people. I LOVE being social. But only when I feel like it. Sometimes I need some space to recharge, and sometimes I need a few chatter-free minutes (or hours) to center myself.

Travel is the very best “cure” for my introverted-ness that I’ve ever found. When in my comfort zone (like when I was home in the Bay Area), I never found the drive to push outside of that introverted-ness. Nothing new or spectacular was happening, so why go out tonight? I could always go out next weekend.

I’m the complete opposite when I travel. Every city is a new adventure, and every night in Paris, Rome or Prague feels like one that will never happen to me again…so why on Earth would I stay inside?

Travel pushes me to put myself out there, talk to strangers, make new friends, and avoid Friday nights at home. I needed this more than I can describe at this point in my life, so my introverted-ness turned out to be a huge factor in my decision.

I Didn’t Know Where My Life Was Headed

There was a point in my life when I thought I knew exactly what I wanted, and it included everything on the “traditional path” we always hear so much about: Marriage, children, a cute little house with a white picket fence, etc., etc.

But there came a time (See “I Was Heartbroken,” above) when I realized that I might not truly want some of those things. Perhaps I only wanted them because I was told I should?

What it came down to is that I’m not 100% sure anymore that I would like to get married, and I’ve been feeling like I may not want to have kids of my own. These feelings could absolutely change down the road (and somehow, part of me actually hopes that they do), but for now, I am searching for other ways to fulfill myself and live an exciting and adventurous life if these things aren’t in the cards for me.

When I asked myself what that looked like, travel was the answer.

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Anything Could Happen

I felt so stalled in the predictability of my everyday life back home in California. I would wake up, get ready, sit in an hour and a half of traffic to get to work, sit in an hour and half of traffic to get home, make dinner, watch the Bachelor, go to sleep.

When I’m traveling, NOTHING is predictable. Sometimes that’s for the better, and sometimes for worse. Still, there is something so thrilling about waking up every morning and not knowing where the world is going to take you.

I feel this way when I’m on vacation, and I realized that a life of travel would allow me to feel it every day, so I took the plunge.

There you have it – my reasons for leaving it all behind to travel the world. Would you ever consider a life of full-time travel, or maybe an extended vacation? Let me know in the comments below!