It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly when a moment of eye-popping clarity comes about. When it comes to my desire to travel, I could tell you that it was when I went to Haiti in 2012 to care for the most beautiful children. I could also tell you it was when my parents came to the US to make a new life and sprouted the idea that home isn’t always just one place. But perhaps more than any other reason, this idea to quit my job and travel started several years ago when I visited Thailand. That was my first trip unassisted in a country that I did not know the language of. It opened my eyes in ways that nothing else in this world could.
In a way, this idea to travel is a result of all these things and many more. After all, quitting your job to travel isn’t the quickest and easiest decision to make, I can attest to that. But then again, the best things in life are usually not easy and that theory is very applicable here.
While I was on that fateful trip in Thailand 2 years ago, a thought that was built up by my upbringing and by that trip to Haiti started to permeate my mind and I decided at that moment that someday I would quit my job. While I wanted that day to be as soon as possible, I knew that it would take some time and planning to make it happen. To be exact, it would take 2 years.
During those 2 years, I have savored the process of saving, positioning myself, and planning for this trip, and while most of this process is enjoyable and exciting, there is always that elephant in the room. He’s just sitting way too close to you invading your space, but at some point you just need to face him. That elephant I’m referring to is the prospect of quitting. In my case, I work(ed) as a CPA in a public accounting firm. I’d been there for over 4 years having started right out of school as a hungry staff accountant. I’ve formed relationships with people throughout the firm whom I take great pride in calling my extended family. While I am very thankful for these people, this also made the idea of quitting even more difficult. How could I leave these people that I’d figuratively AND literally lived with for so long? After all, I’d seen them more often than my own family during those years.
I knew that it would take some finesse to start down the path of my dreams while keeping strong relationships with these people. I started by having a conversation with some of my closer co-workers while also keeping things hush so that rumors wouldn’t spread. I spoke to them about the idea of traveling and what it would mean for my future career. While I’m certain that many of them were disappointed, I felt that talking early and honestly helped make a smoother transition.
One of the difficult things to manage at this time was gossip. It’s something that I can’t control so I didn’t concern myself with this too much, but I did want to be the first one to talk to 2 particular partners in charge of my office. To do this, it took quite a bit of self-control to not blurt out my dream that had been building for 2 years to everyone in sight! But I kindly asked each of the people that I spoke with to not go around talking about my plans, at least not until I had told those partners. I’m once again very thankful to have good people that I work with because there were no leaks of my plans.
Admittedly, as much as it has been exciting to plan out this trip, the prospect of telling people that have employed me for 4 years that I will longer be working with them is still intimidating. When it finally came time to talk to those partners, something rather interesting happened. Instead of fear and intimidation wrapping my mind, I instead had great clarity in what I was doing and where I was going. That made it very easy to talk to each of them about my plans without fear of consequence. Of course, I really had no reason to think that there would be a significant consequence to me reaching for my dreams, even if it did make their lives temporarily difficult.
I think that is the most important thing to consider, that people will never really be upset at one another for reaching for their dreams, as long as you do it professionally and properly. And if you do find yourself in the position of trying to convince your boss of why you are choosing your dream over working endless hours, then I think it is quite clear where you should and shouldn’t be. Thankfully, I have had the great fortune to work in a great environment and one in which I hope to be welcomed back to in the future.
It may not always be the best time or easiest time to quit, but when it comes to reaching for your dream, reach all day. There’s no other way to find happiness that can truly match that of arriving at your goal. But don’t let that moment of arrival come without setting your sights on the next mountain to climb!
More on that next mountain coming soon. Til next time! 🙂