Some people can make it seem like it’s so simple to make huge life changes. “I just woke up one day and quit my job!” And maybe it is that easy for some people. For most though, I would say that's there's a HUGE internal battle that wages. For me, it had been slowly building over the past seven years. The last year and a half was when I really figured out what I wanted to do with this insatiable need for travel and I came up with an exit plan.
This wasn't just about travel for me, this was about changing the quality of my lifestyle. I didn't want to continue waking up and repeating the same day, the same week and the same month over and over again. The same conference calls, the same meetings, the same projects. That type of repetitiveness kills the soul and the imagination. Don't get me wrong, I've had a great career in architecture, worked for some really great companies over the years. I've met some incredible people and made lifelong friends along the way.
This last experience was the best, the worst and the hardest for me. The best because I was able to achieve what I set out to achieve when I relocated to Atlanta, paying off debt and saving. And it also forced me to make the decision to move forward with my plans to focus on the travel business full time. The worst and hardest because I had to devote 12 hours of my life, every day, to a place that didn't value me as a person or a professional and was, quite frankly, one of the most unprofessional work environments I've ever had to deal with. On top of that, it was making me physically sick from stress...anxiety, heart palpitations and I was extremely unhappy. I had more doctor visits in 6 months working there than I did in 5 years of living in Virginia. Thank God, I was only there for two years and it was the catalyst that I needed to help me make this change.
I look at it like this though: being completely uncomfortable and on the verge being physically unhealthy was what I needed to make this change. Why? If I was happy, content, loved being where I was, I would NOT be writing this post from a riad in Marrakech, listening to the sounds of life in the kasbah. I'd still be there, in that office, staring at a computer screen, planning to do it "one day". Instead of actually living it. Now.
It took a lot of prayer, internal dialogs and me telling myself, "come on, you can do this." Every day. In order for me to be able to walk away from an unhappy, unhealthy, toxic lifestyle that centered around a job I hated. Leaving a toxic environment, or any unhealthy situation for that matter, despite the money or other circumstances isn't easy, let's just be honest. It's hard. I had all these fears of failure that would continually creep up in my mind. It's easier to make a major life change when you're younger, less settled and have fewer responsibilities. I'm fortunate though because, even though I'm not 21, I still have fewer responsibilities than most people my age. My daughter is an adult, I'm single and I have the flexibility in my life to do a complete 180 with how I choose to live my life.
I've heard people say, "Be fearless!" when it comes to doing things. That's completely unrealistic. There's absolutely nothing wrong with fear, the problem is letting that fear stop you. Fear is there to make you think, plan, choose more carefully and be more cautious than you would otherwise. That's exactly what I did, I used it and worked it to my advantage. I did it, I tried.
I didn't let those internal fears or the external voices that will always have something to say, stop me from moving forward. I'm the one that would have to live with the regret or the, "what ifs?" or the unhappiness or all those other emotions. AND, what friends and loved ones don't realize is that they would be at the receiving end of a depressed, miserable, unhappy me if I didn't do this.