For as long as I can remember, I’ve been telling myself, “Someday, I’m gonna quit my job and travel the world.” I told my boyfriend when we first started dating. I’ve told my friends a hundred times. I tell myself every time I’m at TJ Maxx and on the verge of buying a fancy cheese board, so I can stop myself by saying “It’ll just be one more thing you have to put into storage when you quit your job and travel the world.” Someday, I said, I would walk away from the medium bucks and the dubious glamor and reasonably-paced lifestyle of a graphic designer at a code school, and I would buy a one-way ticket to Somewhere and Eat, Pray, Love it up.
I am not the ideal traveler: I’m cheap, I’m easily dehydrated, and mosquitos find my blood delicious. I have a magpie-ish tendency to acquire objects and I get whiny when I’m hungry or tired. I don’t like talking to strangers and I don’t like sensible shoes. But traveling is also when I become my best self. I was a notoriously picky eater until I studied abroad and got over it; I rarely drive, but I gathered my courage to road trip through Ireland; I met my best friend on a tram in Hungary. While bouncing through an uneven career path, travel has become a paradoxical constant: it’s the one thing I’m always working towards. Every place I go makes me hungry for more.
But mysteriously, my “Someday” kept not materializing, and reasons to put it off did. My dog needed me. My rent was too high. My boyfriend would be sad if I left. I had spinal surgery a few years ago. I would run out of money. I would miss my friends. I would miss New York! How would I get health insurance? Shouldn’t I be saving that money to buy a house? (Ha, I live in New York, why bother.) Shouldn’t I focus on my career? Shouldn’t I make my grandparents happy and settle down with my boyfriend and make more, smaller people to spend all that money on? Couldn’t I just follow my dreams in a more conservative, inexpensive way?
I was cruising along with that Someday way off in a foggy distant dreamland when one Tuesday morning I got called into the conference room at work and introduced to the HR representative who was about to hand me and five coworkers our walking papers. Downsizing meant that, suddenly, my job had quit me.
After the initial six or seven hours of blind panic, I got to work trying to work. I was pounding the pavement hard, and the freelance gigs were rolling in, “just to tide me over,” I thought. But an idea started germinating.
What if it’s now? My brain whispered. To paraphrase Chris Tucker in the seminal film Friday, I didn’t have a job, and I had nothing to do. I had a little money in savings, an apparent torrent of freelance work I could do remotely, and a valid passport. By Sunday, I was thinking seriously. By Monday, I was looking at flights. Where to go? First I thought, southern Europe. But I’ve been all over Europe; I wasn’t going to spend this opportunity just finishing Europe. Then I thought, Latin America, to visit my friend working for an NGO in Guatemala, maybe make it all the way to Patagonia. But then I said, think bigger. How far can you go? And the answer was: New Zealand. And then Australia, since it’s right there. And hey, why not hop over to southeast Asia, too? Four countries, four months. If not now, when?
If not now, I figured, in thirty years. I didn’t give myself time to think too hard, and I bought a ticket!
I’m not going to tell you to quit your job and travel the world, because it worked for me so it’ll work for you. First of all, I don’t know yet that it worked for me, because all I’ve got is a plane ticket and a fuzzy gameplan. Second of all, this is only possible because I am incredibly lucky. I have a tiny amoutn of money saved, I have a safety net if I burn out my savings, I’m able to freelance and work remotely, I have a support network of kind and wonderful friends and family who are helping me make it happen, I’m young and pretty healthy and I don’t have anyone who relies on me. My boyfriend is tolerant if not thrilled to be losing his girlfriend for four months. Dropping everything and hopping on a plane is not an option for most people.
But I can tell you this for sure: when my Someday came along, I wasn’t waiting for another one.
Who is Lauryn Mac?
Lauryn Mac is not only the author of this blog for Groupit Travel, but she is also a writer, photographer and traveler extraordinaire! She is getting ready to embark on a 4-month travel adventure to Oceania and Southeast Asia as a solo traveler. You can follow her adventure on social media where she will be blogging, vlogging, and sharing photos exclusively for Groupit Travel. #justgolauryn #roadlaurrior
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