It’s late August and I’ve just booked a couple of cheap one way flights that leave the UK in 7 months’ time. My partner, Steve, and I are not intending to come back home until we get bored or the money runs out, which hopefully will be a long way away. I feel a little like I’m going to puke, but also a little like the whole world, literally, just opened up in front of me. I’ve spent years tracking the progress of people on social media who quit everything and just went travelling, gushing over their words and photographs and feeling jealous in the depths of my stomach that they were living my dream life. Well, not any more. As of March 26th 2019 I’m going to give that dream life a go.
As a self-confessed control freak the idea of ditching everything and just seeing what happens is completely and utterly terrifying, but I also feel that it’s a step that I absolutely need to take. 2017 was a pretty shitty year for me, with some significant personal and professional things taking place that left me reeling, all making me seriously question “the plan” that I’d up to then taken for granted. I decided to quit my well paid and highly stressful consultancy job and take some much needed time to focus on myself and my family, taking the opportunity to really connect with myself. I began to realise that I’d pushed myself down a path that was ultimately unsatisfying, all because I felt like it was something I “should” do, rather than something that made me fundamentally happy.
I took aspirational but temporary work contracts – first in the museum sector then for a Local Authority working on some pretty innovative construction projects. They were supposed to be the holy grail, the job of my dreams; part of me thought that I’d be able to find the happiness I was looking for in the UK, I just needed to find the right job. But I’m a little done with holding out and hoping for something better to come my way, and it’s time to start making things happen.
So here we are, nearly a year later, and I’ve just taken the first major step by booking a couple of one way flights. On the scale of things, it’s a pretty small step – my sister has kindly reminded me that my partner and I could easily spend the same amount on food and craft beer in a single weekend. But I still feel like I might puke.
So the next 7 months of our lives will be entirely focused on preparing as best we can for this leap that will get bigger and bigger as each day goes by. As a starter, we need to sell most of our possessions including our home and car, do a shit ton of research, buy some mosquito nets and sensible shoes, save a butt load of money, and quit our jobs. And I’m trying to not focus on the enormity of the task that lies in front of me, of the fear that something will go wrong or that I’ll return home broke and broken, because that’s what the old Jess would do. So I spend my days looking at maps and googling images of countries that I’ve hardly ever heard of, finding those indescribable moments of empowerment in knowing that I’ve finally taken my own life in my hands.