Hey everyone! A couple of weeks ago I asked one of my favorite bloggers to write a post for me. Just last year she quit her job, and her and her significant other decided to travel the world. I thought she was super inspiring and knew she just HAD to guest post for me. You can follow her lifestyle blog at Mish Lovin Life or their travel blog at Filling in the Dots.
Hi there. My name is Michelle. But you can call me Mish, so as not to confuse with the real Michelle of this blog. 🙂
While I truly admire Michelle’s dedication to keeping this wonderful and successful blog of hers anonymous, I’m going to be frank with you and say, I just can’t do that. So, to continue with my “I like to put it all out there” vibe, here’s a picture of me to put a face to this post.
Nice to meet you! So. About me. Here’s a little back story:
Ten months ago, I was working 40 hours a week at your typical 9-5 office job. I was faced with a glaring computer screen every day and attempted to keep my phone’s “Do Not Disturb” button active more than I’d like to admit. In so many words, I was pretty unhappy in the career department.
But what could I do?
I was almost 26 years old with a hefty student loan, living in Downtown San Diego with rent and car payments to make. Plus, this is just what you’re supposed to do, right? You go to college, then you get a job, and you work your way up the corporate ladder. That’s the path. You can have fun when you retire, they say! So how come I felt so miserable? Why did I want to gouge my eyes out every morning as I opened my Microsoft Outlook only to be greeted with 100+ emails?
I knew I wanted more. There had to be more.
Last May, my boyfriend Verner and I went to Korea for a week. My brother was getting married and we jumped on the chance to take a trip outside of the ol’ U-S-of-A. Needless to say, it was a blast. We did some sight-seeing, enjoyed a beautiful wedding, ate the most amazing kimchi I’ve ever had, and just soaked it all in. I mean, just look at us: That’s true happiness right there. And who wouldn’t be with a beer the size of your head?
Anyway, that trip sparked something inside of us. We returned to San Diego with this nagging feeling in our stomachs. We had an urge to see more. Do more. Be more. The thought of living my life, working so hard (okay, not that hard, but hard enough) at a job I didn’t care for seemed like torture to me. There was no way I could do that for 40+ more years!
Something had to be done. I had to stop making excuses. I had to think about what I wanted and make it happen. Simple as that. And it really is as simple as that. I firmly believe YOU are the only one that can hold YOU back. So I took responsibility and I went for it.
We decided to travel.
We decided to sell everything we owned. Goodbye cars. Goodbye furniture. Goodbye clothes.
We decided to quit our jobs. Goodbye and good riddance, I said!
We whittled our possessions down to fit in one suitcase each.
We set a goal of 5 months to plan, sell, save, and say our goodbyes.
With $26,000 in our bank account, we bought one-way tickets to Spain. And on November 18, 2012, we began our journey.
Excited didn’t even begin to describe our emotions that day.
We made a goal to only spend $100 a day. Total. For the both of us.
We wrote down everything we spent.
And surprisingly, it was totally doable.
Our first 50 days of travel were spent in Europe: 30 days in Spain, 20 days in Italy, with a short trip to Paris and Morocco!
After Europe, we went straight to Thailand and spent a month on Koh Samui.
Our $100/day budget easily came down to only $50/day, splurging on the best Pad Thai noodles for only $1.50!
I think I found my second home there in Thailand.
After Thailand, we went to Malaysia, then Bali, and Vietnam.
I’m actually currently writing this to you from our $22/night hotel room in Hanoi.
I am excited to say that next week, we will be heading back to Thailand to explore Phuket, Chiang Mai, and Bangkok. And again, excitement doesn’t begin to explain how I feel about that.
Let’s just say Vietnam hasn’t necessarily been my favorite place in the world.
I am sharing this because I want, more than anything, for you to know and to believe that you can truly do whatever you set your mind to. If you told me two years ago, hell, even a year ago, that I would be doing this now, I would have laughed in your face and said, “Yeah, right!”
But trust me when I say this, if I can do this, anyone can do this!
It takes a little bit of planning, sure. It takes a lot of sacrifice, yes. But it’s about priorities and it’s about your happiness. With anything in life, really.
We bought tickets finally to head to San Francisco in May. A part of me is really excited and looking forward to being on American soil again and scarfing down some good Mexican food. And there’s a part of me that will really miss being away, discovering new places. But there is one thing that I have learned from all of this, and that is: Never Settle. Don’t accept the “norm” in life if that “norm” is not what you want. If you’re unhappy, do something about it. Stop making excuses.
I don’t know how long I’ll be in San Francisco for, but I can guarantee that you won’t be finding me in another cubicle, gouging my eyes out! I vow to keep travel a close part of my life. I vow to put my happiness above what society tells me I should do. I vow to stay present, focused, and determined!
Thank you for allowing me to share with you. I hope to meet some new friendly faces over in my little corner of the interwebs!
Have you ever thought about doing something like this? What’s a major goal of yours?