Why I Quit My Job in New York City to Backpack Across Europe
I can still remember the look on my husband's face when I asked him the question. It was a thought that had been brewing in my mind for quite some time, and suddenly, as we squeezed into the already crammed F train, the words spilled out of my mouth.
"Do you want to quit our jobs and backpack across Europe?"
While I was expecting a hysterical are-you-serious laugh in return, he looked around at the sardine can we were currently packed into, smiled, and said, "Let's do it."
And so, the planning began. It took 15 months of shoving every cent we had into savings, but before we knew it, we were buying backpacks, selling what belongings we had in our 400-square-foot Brooklyn apartment, and giving our two-week notices at work. The time had come to pop the comfort bubble we had formed in a city we were head-over-heels in love with to embark on a new adventure.
While we were fortunate to have the encouragement from our family and friends, not everyone understood our decision. For some people, they digested our plan like this: here we were, in our mid-twenties, living in the "city of dreams" with well-paying jobs, about to willingly throw it all away. Crazy, right? Yet, what they may not have realized was how we had long contemplated over this decision. It was a decision that felt right, and one we were confident in making.
As I reflect on the 71 days spent backpacking across Europe, I smile knowing I have no regrets. While quitting a job to travel isn't for everyone, it was right for us. Those ten weeks were by no means glamorous, but they were filled to the brim with inspiration, which made any obstacle encountered well worth it.
For those of you with thoughts of taking a big leap on a similar adventure, but are still clinging onto fear and hesitation, I am here to shine a light on why you should take the jump, why you will become a better person because of it, and tips on how your dream can be affordable. Here are four lessons I learned from stepping outside my comfort zone and giving up stability.