Why I’m Throwing Away the World’s Most Comfortable Life to Travel

So I’ve done it. I submitted my resignation, I booked my flights, I outlined my itinerary. Today, I hopped on a flight from Sydney, Australia to Christchurch, New Zealand, and I’ll be taking the rest of the year to travel the world. Who wouldn’t pass up the opportunity to take a career break and hop around the globe, right? The thing is, I’m leaving a seemingly perfect life behind.

Sydney, Australia skyline sunset

I’m leaving this?

I don’t think my life as an expat in Sydney, Australia, which I’ve step by step said goodbye to this week, could have possibly been any more pleasant and comfortable than it was. I had a stable, full-time job that inspired me regularly, with bosses for whom I have the utmost respect. I was in a happy, loving relationship with the kindest human being I have ever met. I lived in a sun-drenched apartment in a tranquil, trendy suburb. I met a multitude of witty, entertaining friends and was part of the best pub trivia team anyone’s ever met. I was a savvy saver with that aforementioned stable job, so I rarely worried about money. I lived in a city with one of the best qualities of life in the world.

Trivia, The Dolphin, Surry Hills

Many of my Sydney friends wishing me safe travels on my last night of weekly trivia last night

And yet I’ve given it all up. I’ve thrown it all away. To travel.

What a fool! 99.99% of the world may never achieve this level of life comfort. Why turn my back on this lovely life I’ve built up? When you strike gold, why let it go?

What if I was insane to leave Sydney? What if I hate traveling, feel miserable upon returning to the U.S., and realize I’ve reached my peak and my life is all downhill from here? But…what if it’s the best decision I’ve ever made?

Maybe along the way I’ll see there’s a whole other side of life I’ve never even considered. Maybe I’ll be whisked off to a tropical island by the love of my life. Maybe my career priorities will do a 180 or I’ll get to the point where this blog is my career. Maybe I’ll make friends I’ll still be in touch with when I’m 93. Maybe I’ll miss flights, get terribly lost in a foreign city, break a bone or have my illusions about the world shattered. Maybe I’ll have the greatest year of my entire life.

Lagos, Portugal

Taking a leap…har, get it? (In Lagos, Portugal a few years ago.)

The point is I have no idea what will happen. But the good, the bad, and the in between will make me the person I end up being on the other side. Life isn’t about stagnancy; it’s about evolution, and travel is the best way I’ve found to evolve.

Yes, my life in Sydney has been just about as comfortable as it gets, but is comfort what life is really all about? Especially while you’re in your 20s? The drawing below has become a bit clichéd and has probably been shared by 500,000 angsty teenagers on Tumblr, but I still think about it all the time and try to live my life by it:

Comfort zone, things that make life worthwhile and interesting
Several years ago, Nomadic Matt shared a post called “Everyone Says I’m Running Away,” and it’s stayed in my mind since I first read it. Like Matt, I’m not running away from anything. How could I possibly run away from such an idyllic life, after all? Instead, I’m running toward something. What exactly that is, I’m not yet sure.

I may have a well organized itinerary and a long list of places I want to see, but in reality I have very little idea of where life will take me during the rest of 2016 and beyond. But maybe that’s exactly what I need right now. I will miss the life I’ve built in Sydney more than I can possibly put into words, but sometimes chapters need to end to get where you really want to be.

As I write from the first of many hostels on this massive trip, I’m already mourning all that I’ve left behind, and I’m apprehensive of what lies ahead. Goodbye to the remarkable life I lived in Sydney. Hello to who knows what. But it’s happening. I’m going for it. And I can’t wait to find out what happens.

10 Responses

  1. Wow! Best of luck for what lies ahead–looking forward to hearing more about your journey and the inevitable, exciting twists that come up along the way.

  2. Brook Taylor says:

    Kirstie –

    Your blog has been so inspiring and I this post is a favorite of mine. It has really gotten to me as I am preparing to leave for Spain this September through the same program you once participated in. I have a quick question that may be a little personal, so feel free to answer as generally as you would like. I hope to do what you are doing one day and take a year to travel the world to see places I haven’t quite gotten to yet. While I have only been in the workforce a little over a year, I have saved up a good deal of money but know that I would have to probably save a great deal more to feel comfortable quitting any sort of job to travel for a year. I am wondering what you had saved prior to quitting your job and going on this trip of a lifetime. I wan’t to know what a good goal is to have for myself and I know it may take some time but it really gives me something to look forward to and strive for!

    Thank you for all of your helpful posts and in advance for any help you can give on this matter,

    • Hi Brook,

      Thank you very much, and sorry for the delay in responding! What you need to save will really depend on your travel plan: how long you plan to go, which countries you want to see, etc. The daily cost of traveling is significantly lower than the daily cost if I were to stay in Sydney (although of course I’m no longer earning a full income), so that’s encouraging. I say just make sure you have enough that you don’t have to worry too much about going over budget and also to have some left when you’re finished in case you can’t find work straight away. Let me know if I can answer that more specifically, though!

  3. Kathryn says:

    I also love to travel due to my business and sometimes for recreation. Your post inspired me most as I roaming around, coz sometimes I felt boring.

  4. Varun Sharma says:

    I also love to travel because it’s my passion. I always go with my family.

  5. Good for you Kirstie. I have been circling the globe for a decade; fun, freeing, uncomfortable, liberating, fabulous way to live.

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