Most would call me crazy.
I mean, who could blame them. I thought I was crazy too. I quit my salaried, cush, 9-5 (more like 10-4) corporate ‘big-girl’ job. And I had worked so hard to get there. Working my way through University, excelling in school, doing the “perfect” internships to set me up for the ‘perfect’ job. Toasting with mimosas with my boss when she told me she was hiring me. Feeling “ambitious”. Successful. Powerful. Independent. But most of all?
There was one day where I looked around at my coworkers who were groaning about it ‘only being Wednesday’. This was the moment — when something just snapped in me.
“Am I like them?” I thought to myself. The horror of that thought is what woke me up. I was like them. Living five of my seven days of the week, working for the CEO’s dream. Waiting for the weekend, so I could drink enough to forget about going back to work on Monday.
But not for long.
It took only one more month before I said goodbye to my team, my coworkers, my boss (who I think resented me a little for quitting first), and took off to the other corner of the world on a one way ticket.
To be honest, I had no idea what was in store for me. All I knew, was that I was making a huge life shift. Taking off on a one way ticket was something that I’d been contemplating for a couple years by then, and even though it scared me shitless, something inside of me knew that I had to do it.
Spontaneous right action.
This became my motto, as I continued to jet forward with no plan, no ‘sanity’, and a backpack full of trace items. The next 9 months turned into a whirlwind of awakening; finding myself, finding my guru, and most of all — losing sight of the world as I knew it.
This is the most beautiful part of traveling — losing sight of “your world”. Who are ‘you’ anyways? At the end of the day, you’re only a collection of conditioned beliefs and habits that your parents taught you, that your environment taught you, and that your society taught you.
Guess what happens when you leave that conditioned home land?
You reveal your true self.
You strip away all of the bullshit — until all that is left is the raw, authentic, make-up-less, homeless, stuff-less, habit-less version of yourself. And that’s exactly what I did — I left everything I knew, and went on a one way ticket to Asia.
Flash forward to three years later, and here I am now living in Mexico, typing this very article.
Many people look at my life and tell me “I wish I could do that”. I get messages, DM’s, and questions almost on the daily with people wondering how I did it, and how they can do it too. So here’s my condensed list of advice:
The first thing you need to do, is trust. It sounds easier said than done, but it’s honestly easier done than said. I took a huge risk in leaving my job. It meant leaving behind something amazing I had worked for, with hopes that it might be worth it. Did I know it would be worth it at the time? No way. I was scared shitless. Do I know it was worth it now? Absolutely. (Probably the best decision of my life!) I remember being about one month into my travels and suddenly bursting into tears, fully realizing how lucky I was to escape the bullshit and trust myself. I knew I had made the right decision.
2. Get out of your own way
Get out of your own way! Meaning, put aside all the bullshit conditioning and thought patterns that are keeping you stuck. This takes a little bit of effort, and a bit of reprogramming. A few things that can help reprogram your mind are: meditation, yoga, NLP sessions, (never done but I hear amazing things), and honestly just switching up the routine of your life. If you get too used to an environment — whether a job, a relationship, a coffee shop, a group of friends — it will be hard to move beyond that bubble and experience something new. So, if you’re eager for something new, then you first need to move beyond the bubble.
Start small, and work your way up. If you’re not ready to quit the job or leave the relationship, start by driving to work on a new route. Join a club you have been thinking about, or start practicing yoga at a new studio. You get the picture.
For me, it started with cultivating a daily sadhana practice, which you can read about, here. Little did I know at the time that a 30 minute practice in the morning would change my life — and I mean everything. But what it was really doing at the end of the day, was reprogramming my mind for success.
Don’t let yourself get in the way of yourself.
3. Go on a solo trip for starters
If you’re not yet ready to take off on a one way ticket, then take a solo trip somewhere nearby. Whether it’s a solo road trip down the coast, or taking off to Thailand for a month to learn Thai massage, give yourself the benefit of doing something that shows you that you can be happy on your own. Essentially, you’re training the muscles that teach you that feeling of “I’ve got this!”
For me personally, I would take off in my good ol’ Chevy Cruz anytime I could. From Salt Lake City, I would just hop in my car and head west — out to the northern California coast. This is where I would find clarity and confidence in being on my own.
4. But go with purpose
One of my teachers told me “don’t travel just to travel. Wherever you go, go with purpose”. This is the best piece of advice I’ve ever received regarding traveling. Sipping cocktails on beaches and partying at hostels will only entertain you for so long before you feel purposeless and unfulfilled. Traveling like a tourist also becomes mundane — I mean, how many selfies can you take at the ‘top 5’ in a destination before you get bored?
Wherever you go, go with purpose. Find something there for you that enlivens your spirit and strengthens who you are. Whether its that yoga teacher training in India you’ve been thinking about, or skiing the Swiss Alps — go with purpose.
For me, this year was all about snowboarding, scuba diving and surfing, and following those callings has led me to live in Park City for the winter, Bali and Indonesia for scuba diving, and here I am now, post surf, living in Costa Rica.
5. For longer trips, think about working abroad
If you think money is the only thing holding you back from traveling, I can tell you from personal experience that you don’t need money. Aside from the airfare, you can have your trip almost free if you get creative. If you teach yoga, you can find teaching opportunities anywhere in the world with a platform like YogaTrade.com. Using YogaTrade, I’ve been able to teach at a boutique hotel in Bali, a hip surf hostel in Sri Lanka, and a permaculture farm in the south pacific of Costa Rica. Using your skills abroad will cover all of your expenses, so you really only have to worry about the airfare.
If you don’t teach yoga, I know many people who have used workaway.org to find work opportunities for just about anything – from working the front desk in a hostel, to babysitting, to making wine in New Zealand.
Get creative. You can do it!
I just want to throw it out there that if you’re reading this article — you’re already on track and in the mindset of living a life beyond ‘the picket fence’. You know — the classic life where you get the job, have the kids, retire and die type of life. It takes guts to live a ‘gutsy’ life, and people are probably going to judge you and think you’re crazy. But hey, if you’ve never been called crazy for the way you live your life, then maybe you’ve never lived at all.