I’m leaving my job and planning epic travel this winter

It has taken me a loooooong time to write this blog post – a ridiculously long time in fact. One reason is that it feels epic and epic often needs time to simmer (gestate?) before being shared. Another reason is I just have a lot to say. I’ve already sketched out at least 4 posts worth of what? where? why? and how? – so look for those this winter.

But today what I want to share is all right up there in the headline: I’m leaving my job and planning epic travel this winter! Can I get a woohoo?!

These are 2 separate but related celebration-worthy nuggets of awesomeness!

First, I’m leaving my job. As promised in July’s Declaration of Freedom, I spoke with my boss, although it went down a little later than initially planned. I gave her the heads up in mid-October and put in my official notice about a week later. My last day is December 6 – I wanted to give a lot of notice so my team would have time to replace me before their next big project kicks off.

Leaving my good steady job was not a straightforward decision, but for me it’s the next right step. I’m craving more flexibility in my schedule and have long been interested in exploring other work paradigms. Also over the past 2 years, this job has opened up a world of strategic planning I had no idea would be so intriguing. And I finally paid off my hefty student loans (a third celebration-worthy nugget of awesomeness) which has allowed me to feel more comfortable taking some fiscal risks with my work-life. Can I get a hell yeah?!

{brief pause for student loan payoff happy dance}

My last day also happens to correspond to the date my other job is coming to an end. Yes, I’ve had two jobs since late August. I accepted an opportunity to teach a class at the local University this semester. Teaching is an experience I’ve been interested in trying and I definitely learned a lot this semester.

But while I’m sincerely glad I did it, let’s just say that I do not plan to work this much again for while. Between working, teaching, traveling, buying and selling houses, volunteering and socializing, I have had very little downtime the past 9 months.

(side note: while I would call bullshit on myself if I tried to say I was too busy to write this post because of my packed schedule, it is true that working 2 jobs, transitioning between houses and giving attention to my social and romantic lives has left me with very little available brain power for endeavors like this blog. The context switching alone has burned valuable creative energy. Working parents – you are super human.)

And so, after completing my current obligations, I’m taking several months off for a personal sabbatical. During this time, I will be focusing on both physical health and travel (not always synonymous). I also plan to develop an ebook and experiment with working from the road, however rest and rejuvenation are my primary goals.

There are a couple of big “themes” rolled up into the sabbatical

  1. a renewed commitment to my health: while I’m ready to explore new opportunities, and frankly quite excited to do so, I’m teetering on the verge of physical burn-out. Mentally and spiritually, I’m feeling in great shape — I could use more rest and quiet time for reflection, but mostly it’s my body that needs the love. My trusty body is overdue for an oil change and I need a break before diving deep into income generation mode. That type of work needs to come from an inspired and connected place. Right now I feel scattered and running on fumes.
  2. A desire to flex my adaptability and creativity muscles in the ways that travel does best: I’m ready to challenge myself with travel again. I’m ready to get on the road and see new faces, interact with people who don’t look like me, sound like me, live like me.

The transition to the next chapter begins in mid-December when Mr T and I take a mini-break to an undisclosed tropical location. We’ve both been over-extended and squeezing quality time in for months now. So I’m using the proceeds from my teaching position to take us to a swanky resort for a few days where we will do nothing more than decide whether our boat drinks should contain rum or tequila! Since he’s not going on this adventure with me (although he very much supports it), it is also important for us to spend some dedicated together time before I depart. We’ll return in time to enjoy the holidays with family – first his, then mine. Then…

…I’m off and the epic travel is on…!

I kick off my trip in the new year with a couple days with a friend in San Francisco. From there, I fly to Hawaii where I will spend an entire month in one place. ← this will be a travel first for me

I’m doing a yoga-focused personal sabbatical program at a retreat center called Kalani on the Big Island. I’ve never staying in one place for a month with so little that I must do, and I’m looking forward to the experience and what it reveals. While at Kalani, I intend to sleep enough every night, eat high-vibe food every meal, enjoy yoga or joyful movement classes at least once a day, meditate often … and that’s it!  I’ll have books and a journal, so if I’m inspired to consume or create – great! If not, I will thoroughly enjoy clearing my mind and body for a month. Essentially I’m giving myself permission to do “nothing” if that’s how it shakes out.

Independent travel is exhausting at times and it feels right to refill my reserves before embarking on the next leg of the trip.

After my retreat, I fly to Bangkok where I’ll spend roughly 2 months exploring Thailand and Southeast Asia. My itinerary is still in flux but it’s my first time in the region, and I expect it to involve lots of beaches, lots of temples, lots of massage and lots of thai food. Other experiences on the table include diving certification and a fasting detox program.

I’ll visit at least one other country – it would be great to visit more, however I want to travel slower than I did during my European sabbatical. Two months sounds like a long time and until I started planning, I actually thought I could squeeze Australia and New Zealand in this trip?! Ha ha ha ha ha – turns out I could spend 2 months in Thailand alone!

Countries I’m still considering include Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Japan and – most recently – the Philippines, where I would do both a volunteer and a tourist experience. One way we can help battered regions recover is by pumping our tourist dollars into their economies.

I have not yet procured a ticket home, but my intention is to return as spring blossoms.  An endless tan is the plan!

This epic trip will fulfill several deep and long-standing desires for me.

The desire to spend the cold north American winter in a tropical (or at least warmer) location. The desire to explore a new part of the world. The desire to spend an extended period of time (in this case a month) where I am obligated to do very little on a daily basis. The desire to test out how I like working while on the road. And the desire for an experience that leaves me tan, rested and ready for what’s next.

There are several juicy topics wrapped up in this and I plan to explore them (and more) over the next few months.

  • why – my motivations and motivators
  • how – a couple posts about some how I’m making this happen
  • who – I’m traveling solo without my partner but with his full support – why and how that’s happening
  • work – how does travel fit in with my future work … or how does work fit in with my future travel…

If you want to read all about it, sign up here to get on my mailing list and have future posts delivered to your inbox.

Onward and upward!

♥ Audrey

Ps I alluded to working while on the road – I am accepting a limited number of travel coaching clients this winter.

Learn about my special 5-session coaching package and other ways to work with me!

Become your own travel hero in the new year – or give someone you love the gift of travel preparation this holiday shopping season.  Thanks!

2 Responses to I’m leaving my job and planning epic travel this winter

  1. Audrey this is such incredible news. I am truly overjoyed by your decision. People always talk about how important work is, and what the next job is and so on so forth. I think it would serve us all better to look forward to quarterly vacations and daily naps. Rest and relaxation do much more for us than we can imagine. Sleepy people are cranky, overworked people get sick easier and love can never come if an individual is too tired or overwrought to pay attention.

    I am so excited for you I feel as if I am going!!! I think you may be on to something. A new trend of people taking sabbaticals regularly and even scheduled every year or 18 months. I look forward to hearing about all of your travels. I wish you well and will think of you often. I am adding my email so I can live vicariously through you!!!
    Peace, Love, Hugs and Health to you!

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