There have been plenty of stories about people quitting their day jobs to take the road less traveled – be it working from home, starting their own business, or traveling. I am among that brave group who had a good, full time salary job, but walked away from it without looking back.
This is my story.
I had been at my job for 2 years and for the most part I enjoyed what I was doing. I was getting to write 2-3 articles per week, and on top of that I was digging into some marketing work as well. The main problem for me was being stuck in a cube all day every day with no freedom. Over the two years I was there it really started to impact my life. My posture was terrible from hunching over a desk all day and I started having back problems. My vision was getting worse from straining my eyes staring at a screen all day. I started developing anxiety from it, and even suffered from a panic attack at work that landed me in the ER.
It didn’t matter if all my work was done, I had to sit there and stare at my computer screen. The culture at the company wasn’t great either, so that didn’t help. No perks what so ever. The owner treated me like a kid, like he was doing me a favor by giving me a job. I felt underappreciated. I had been going back and forth for a while about quitting, not knowing what I would do instead. The final straw was getting called into HR and basically getting put on probation for taking a sick day without having any sick days left. I was shocked that I was being treated that way by a small family run company (whose HR person was the owners wife,) after being there for two years and never having any issues. I always did what I was asked, and I did a good job at it. That was it for me, I couldn’t waste another second of my life there.
So I did it. I put in my two weeks notice. I was really nervous at first and I had no clue what I was going to do for money, but I knew I would never work in an office like that again. Cube life works for a lot of people, but not me. I planned a two week solo road trip, and decided that when I got home I would pursue my dream of becoming a freelance writer. When I was younger, I wanted to be a photo-journalist for National Geographic and travel the world taking pictures of exotic animals and remote landscapes, writing about my adventures along the way.
It took a while to land something but I am now writing for three online companies, all about things I’m interested in. I write about travel, and the town I live in. I write about relationships and give dating advice to my fellow millennials. I write about health, diet and fitness. I also just had a feature on a Women’s outdoor adventure site. I’m making my way.
Taking that first step was scary, but it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Since I quit, which was October 1, 2016, I have traveled all over Colorado, to Jackson Hole (twice,) Boise, Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, New York City, Boston, Sarasota and Concordia, MO. In the next couple of months I have trips to New Hampshire and Austin planned. I would have never been able to travel like I am if I were still working my 9-5 desk job – having limited vacation days and strict managers.
Now my days are spent hiking, reading, traveling, writing, taking pictures and being creative – and this is only the beginning. I get to make my own schedule, and do what I want when I want to do it. There’s nothing holding me back.
For anyone who is facing a decision like this, whether or not to quit your job because you’re unhappy and follow your dreams, I highly encourage you to take the plunge. You may not make as much money, or have a stable income, or have health insurance through work – but you will be so much happier and your quality of life will improve vastly. It will be okay, you will be okay, and you won’t regret it – I didn’t. For me, life is not about making money and wasting away in an office cube. It’s about exploration, experience, and personal happiness.
UPDATE: October 3 2017 (one year later)
Full Travel List – All over Colorado, to Jackson Hole (twice,) Boise, Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, New York City, Boston, Sarasota, Missouri, New Hampshire (twice,) Austin, Raleigh and Asheville, Nashville, Arkansas, Oklahoma City and Sante Fe.
I’m still writing for the online publications as well as working remotely as a marketing associate and doing digital marketing consulting for a small business. I’ve also landed a few photography gigs doing engagement and outdoor lifestyle shoots.
I stand by my decision of leaving the cube. It’s opened so many doors for me and I’m getting involved with some amazing companies. If you ask me… I’M KILLIN’ IT! I hope my story inspires others to always do what makes them happy and to never settle for mediocre. You’re not a tree – you don’t have roots. If you don’t like where you are, move.
September 6 2015
The rain had cleared up by morning so we were able to make a small fire and defrost while eating some breakfast. We packed up camp, stopped briefly to cast to some trout, and then we were back on the road. The drive north west was a different landscape than we had seen previously. There were flat valleys that were almost desert like and mesas standing alone.
We got to Grand Junction just before 5pm and found our first winery. We tasted wine, chatted with the owner, bought a bottle, grabbed a map and moved onto the next winery.
Same drill at the next stop. We tasted wine, chatted, bought a bottle, also bought wine infused cheesecake, and moved onto the next vineyard.
Whitewater Hill Vineyards
Our last stop was at Hermosa Vineyards, and we saved the best for last. We pulled into the winery which was actually just someone’s house and garage. Everything was closed up. We saw an older man walking around the back side of the house and we asked if he was still open for business, we waved us in and opened up the garage for us. After tasting the wine he asked us if we were in a hurry. No, we weren’t. He invited us into the back and gave us a special batch of cherry port wine and he filled our glasses to the top and led us to the back porch of his house. We sat out there and talked for over an hour. We bought his last bottle of cherry port wine. We were buzzed from the wine and driving farther into the mountains to find camp was a bad idea. So we booked a room.
I took a much needed shower, we got take-out Chinese food, drank the wine from Ptarmigan and Whitewater Hill (saving the port wine for a special occasion) and watched a movie.
Tomorrow, homeward bound.
September 5 2015
It was pouring down rain and we were driving down a dirt road the guy in the fly shop told us about. We were looking down on a massive lake and making our way deeper into the forest when we realized we had gone a little too far. We had to turn around, but first I snapped a photo of the incredible scenery.
We found a spot to camp looking down on the lake and at eye level with the surrounding mountain peaks. Trying to make a fire was beyond frustrating. Everything was soaked. We even drove back into Telluride and bought a bundle of firewood. That wouldn’t catch either.
“Queens of the Campsite”
We bundled up and hunkered down in the tent. The rain was relentless and our original plan to sit by the fire had changed. We drank beer and played cards until we feel asleep.
Next stop, wine country.