Diana Ratana

The “I Quit My Job to Travel” Story

At the moment, I’m sitting in a cafe in Palma, Mallorca near la Placa Major. It’s about 4 in the afternoon on a Sunday, I’ve just finished breakfast (it was a late start), and the coffeehouse chatter humming in the background fills the air as fresh espresso grounds crush softly in the background. This quiet coffee shop moves from a soft hum to a jittery buzz. Its just about the end of siesta.

About a week ago, I was on the verge of tears as I said my good-byes to my colleagues, friends, and family. I packed and unpacked my bag a total of 3 times, cancelled my phone plan and unnecessary accounts, settled all my unpaid toll fees, and last but not least, quit my corporate job. After nearly 4 years in the corporate world and dreaming about travel, I finally made the move to start my one way ticket adventure.

But Why?

Why would you leave your awesome well-paying job at the peak of your career, this life you’ve built in a great city, your family, friends, loved ones, and your car, to go to a place you’ve never been to before, where they speak a language you don’t know, with no plans, and without a stable source of income?

If it sounds crazy to you, trust me, it’s even crazier for me. I’ve had these questions run through my mind for the past 2 years.

For over 2 years, I’ve been thinking about this. I’ve been subconsciously making decisions that would allow me to leave. I’ve been slowly getting rid of my belongings, to a point where all of my worldly possessions fit into one large box in my parents garage. I ensured my apartment lease would end around this time. I scoured the globe for destination deals, ultimately finding this flight for less than $350. I paid off all $12,000 of my student loans, then saved every dollar I could. This wasn’t a spontaneous, spur of the moment thing. Everything leading up to this point was calculated, kind of.

I guess when I really think about it, this desire to travel all of this started when I was just a wander-lusting little girl. As a child, I buried my head in books about foreign lands and new adventures about trials and triumphs abroad. I was hooked on seeing these places I could only read about, I knew that I had to go.

I also knew that if I really wanted to do this, I’d have to work for it myself because I couldn’t depend on anyone else to fund it for me. So I worked.

I took the traditional route to get to this point in life. I did the typical “go straight to college after high-school, work 4 jobs and intern throughout college for experience, get a great job out of college and climb the corporate ladder to success” route. For a while, this path fit me. I was making more money than I knew what to do with and I was buying things only to bring me temporary happiness.

Then, I got comfortable. I got so comfortable with my life here that I forgot why I had even taken this path in the first place. It wasn’t until 2 years ago had I realized how very unhappy I was.

Your job doesn’t define you. How much you earn doesn’t define you. Its what you do with this precious life that counts.

We are far too comfortable, travel the unknown. Be uncomfortable with comfortable

I still have many years of work left in me. Why not spend some of my best years traveling?

The life will still be there, the people who truly care for me as I do for them will stay if they’re meant to.

My car will still be there.

I’ll get familiar with this new country.

I’ll learn the language in time.

I’ll take my plans day by day.

And the money, well money will always be there. If it were important to me, I’ll find a way to get it.

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