Building a Life You Do Not Need a Vacation From
Three weeks ago, we asked our community to share their stories about quitting with intention.
We were instantly moved and inspired by your personal stories of quitting the very thing that is preventing you from creating a space for more positive ways to contribute to the world.
Here is one of your stories…
‘Gap Years’ had always been something for the financially fortunate students, or so I had thought, so it had never been an option for me leaving University. I started my job search immediately and was “lucky” enough to find a job in the City less than two months after graduating. That is when I subconsciously joined the ‘rat race’.
Over the years I somehow worked my way up within the company. I say ‘somehow’ because I never pushed for promotion and would spend most of my time daydreaming about my next holiday. I wasn’t particularly career driven and my goals were more related to countries I would visit one day and adventures and new experiences that I planned to have. But I kept being reminded how I had done so well to get to where I was.
Eventually, when I realized that my annual two or three week holidays to destinations chosen at random from my ever growing wish list were not enough to quench my thirst, I started looking at ways that would enable me to travel more long term. After taking a few trips down some metaphorical avenues, I decided I would work towards a qualification that would allow me to teach English as a foreign language, hoping it would open many doors of opportunity when I would eventually have the courage to explore what was behind them. This epiphany came to me around the same time as the beginning of a new and amazing relationship. I was excited. About my new relationship and about the new venture that was in the early planning stages in my head which had the full support of my partner.
The next few months threw me some challenges. I started taking on more work than I could handle in my job. I was given more projects to manage when I already felt I was drowning with my current workload. All my energy was focused on keeping my head above water. I was coping. Until one day I was faced with that last straw. I reached out for help and was greeted with judgement. I was manipulated and intimidated. Instead of the weight being lifted from my shoulders, I found it pressing harder and spreading to my chest. I waited until I was alone behind closed doors and found myself short of breath and crying. It was sheer panic! The following month my relationship broke down. I was heartbroken. My world was crashing around me but the whole time my dream of traveling the world was keeping me sane.
I forced myself to start the course and I kept my head down for a few months working towards my goal. I passed and decided to approach the subject of a sabbatical with my employers. After some consideration my request was denied. I had half been expecting the result but was deflated. I carried on.
Finally, when I had secured a two month job teaching at a camp in Spain and put a plan in place to travel and volunteer in Central America, I did it. I resigned from the company where I had worked for the past 12 years and was eventually about to start living my own dream. Which brings me to now, I’m writing this from the hostel where I’m volunteering in Guatemala. It’s a warm afternoon with a welcoming light breeze, and in between sentences I raise my head to watch the pelicans soar overhead before landing gently on the river. Sounds idyllic? It is. I miss my friends and family but I am certain that leaving my job was the best decision I ever made. After my time here I’m going to Honduras to hopefully complete my open water diving course and to Costa Rica to volunteer with sea turtles, two of my lifetime goals which I had put off for too long…