My parents celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary next week – amazing. I find it really hard to believe that my parents could stand anything for 50 years, let alone each other. This is especially difficult for me to understand considering I, their flesh and blood creation, am incapable of staying committed to any place or job for longer than 3 or 4 years it seems. Obviously patience and tolerance didn’t rub off on me.
As my parents celebrate their golden anniversary, I’m celebrating my 3 year anniversary (that’s leather in case you wanted to send a gift!) No, I’ve not been secretly married; instead I’m celebrating my separation from corporate life! It’s been exactly 3 years since I quit my corporate career and ran away in search of an adventure. What was supposed to start off as a one year career break has taken many twists and turns full of excitement and tears and somehow it has landed me in Vietnam for a while. The one thing I’ve learned in the past 3 years is how to embrace the unknown; a necessary skill for my nomadic lifestyle.
Even though I escaped from corporate America, I haven’t been a complete slacker as most of you (aka my parents and family) think. In fact, if you think that all I do is travel around the world and take pictures, that’s just one small piece of my life over the last 3 years. Instead I do many different jobs; teach ESL, manage a website for a handbag company, keep up this blog, and write for other websites (and sometimes I even get paid money for that…woohoo!).
To top it off, last March a partner and I started a website about how to inspire others to take a career break and travel. Granted, we’re not advocating that you leave your job and never go back as I did, instead we are helping people understand how to take a break and come back to a career, or start a new one if you want! The site inspires and (hopefully) demonstrates that a career break is not going to destroy your career; in fact quite opposite, it can boost it! If you haven’t checked out Briefcase to Backpack yet, then take a moment now to do so! At least I’m trying to help others escape a bit – I figure that’s my way of giving back to the poor, overworked cubicle dwellers out there. It’s not been easy starting a business as Michaela and I are in two different parts of the world and struggling to keep it all moving along while holding down our other jobs; but it’s gaining traction and that’s what makes it worth it! So – I may not be in Corporate America any longer, but I’m certainly bogged down working. However, the beauty is that I can do my jobs from anywhere in the world!
Enough about work…lets celebrate the real fun stuff – 3 years of traveling! While in Mongolia, I took some time to reflect upon my 3 years of travel. Wonderful memories came floating back – some good, and some that were memorable due to the struggle. I decided to jot down some of the first things that came to me. Here are some of my favorite memories over the past 3 years of traveling. If you have been following me for 3 years, then this is old news. However, if you joined me somewhere in the middle, you may want to check these old posts out.
- Being banished from Kilimanjaro due to altitude sickness and watching the rest of my group summit.
- My last day of volunteer teaching in India. One of the few times that as an adult I couldn’t hold back tears.
- The smell of the Mombassa market.
- Struggling for answers on what to do with my life while on a vomit filled bus in Morocco.
- Being jumped by a monkey in Bali and losing an earring in the scuffle.
- My first hilltribe trekking and homestays in Thailand I’ll never look at a rat the same way again.
- Living in Sorrento, Italy for a month eating, drinking, and murdering the language
- Going on a massive hunt to see the goats that climbed trees in Morocco – success!
- During my USA road trip – stopping in Ozark Arkansas drinking Bud Light with the locals.
- Sleeping ouside under the stars in the Sahara Desert
- Playing volleyball in the Gobi Desert (That story is coming out this month!)
- Turning the corner on a grueling hike and seeing the jaw dropping Batad rice terraces.
- My Mongolian bus ride where the whole bus joined in and sang songs.
- The freak blizzard in China praying I would get back to Shangri-la alive
- Bac Ha Market – still my favorite market in the world
- My isolation in Nepal and learning how to remove leaches
- Taking my motorbike out on the streets for the first time in Vietnam
- The moment while on a bus in New Zealand, looking out across the stunning landscape knowing that I would never be satisfied with ‘normal life’ again. A scarey and exciting thought. I never actually wrote about it, but it’s a very vivid memory that I refer to often as one of my most memorable moments of traveling.
I invite you to sit back, relax, have some cake and ,and toast the celebration!